Mihaylo College Economics Senior Hafez Karimi ’19 (second from right) receives an award for his assistance of homeless residents at H.I.S. House in Placentia. Also pictured are economics professors Denise Stanley (far left) and Radha Bhattacharya, who is also the director of the Center for Economic Education (second from left). Fellow intern Adara Cervantes ’19 (economics) is at far right.

Supporting an effort to provide workforce and financial skills for residents of Orange County homeless shelters, Wells Fargo Bank has funded an initiative that empowers the Cal State Fullerton Center for Economic Education to assist residents of the Homeless Intervention Shelter (H.I.S. House) in Placentia.

With nearly 5,000 homeless residents, Orange County is actively seeking solutions to the plight of the region’s less fortunate. The Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, operating with a $30,000 grant from Wells Fargo Bank, is working to ensure the workforce readiness of homeless shelter residents through one-on-one coaching, mock interviews, and direction on how to find and utilize resources to enhance their skill set.

The grant-funded program began in fall 2018 and works with Homeless Intervention Shelter (H.I.S. House), a transitional living facility a little more than a mile from the main Mihaylo College campus. The program tasked the university’s business students as interns to provide weekly site visits in which assessment, surveys, lesson plans, and targeted vocational and financial education resources were provided to the house’s residents.

The interns also worked with the Center for Healthy Neighborhoods in Fullerton and the Thomas House Family Shelter in Garden Grove. The program is slated to run through spring 2019 and include additional homeless shelter sites as the center expands the scale of its operation

“Our program benefited residents who are homeless due to job loss, incomplete education and insufficient occupation skills,” says Radha Bhattacharya, director of the Center for Economic Education and an economics professor. “Research studies indicate that the primary need of homeless shelter residents is a job that will enable them to climb the ladder of upward economic mobility.”

The interns provided the program’s beneficiaries with information on current job opportunities; what employers are looking for; and supporting digital and traditional employment search tools, including résumé and online profile development. Financial coaching included guidelines on how to stay within a budget and advice on avoiding scams, identity theft and emergency shortfalls.

Recognizing the importance of basic educational skills, English language education, literacy and numeracy, and software and office skills were an integral component of the program.

Student interns reported on their progress at the end of the fall semester in December, with Hafez Karimi ’19 (economics) awarded for being most impactful at the H.I.S. House outreach.

For More on the Center for Economic Education

Mihaylo College’s Center for Economic Education engages the Southern California community with personal financial development and workforce development skills. This includes outreach to local schoolchildren, such as an annual Economic Literacy and Business Olympiad that enables local secondary students to perfect their business and economics skills while competing for scholarships, through such activities as reading business and economic news from The Wall Street Journal and stock market games for high school and middle school youth.

Other center initiatives include an IDA program sponsored by U.S. Bank intended to reduce the financial burden of attending college for Cal State Fullerton students, and financial literacy workshops for underprivileged teens.

For more information on the center, visit them online. Or read more articles about the center and its impact.