YWCA Strive

Define your career goals and gain the confidence to seek higher-paying jobs or negotiate higher wages with YWCA Strive, a free professional development program for individuals who struggle to secure or retain living-wage employment.

Applications are currently being taken for the remote and in-person cohorts. A new class will begin every 10 weeks.

Future cohorts are being planned, visit often for new start dates.

Professional and Employability Skills

With YW Strive, you’ll learn and practice skills desired by local employers and that you need to define and succeed on your career path.

Topics include:

  • Digital Skills for the Workplace
  • Essential Skills (aka Soft Skills)
  • Financial Independence
  • Critical Thinking
  • Personal Empowerment
  • Team Work and Collaboration
  • Career Coaching
  • Presentation Skills
  • Opportunities for Education and Career Advancement

Hands-On Approach

Do you want to learn new skills to improve your employment opportunities and expand your income earning potential? YW Strive offers hands-on classes and assignments that will help you develop and practice your skills in a collaborative, supportive environment.

You’ll take the skills you learn in class and work one-on-one with a career coach to define your career path, identify solutions to any barriers, and receive individualized feedback and support on your progress and skills development.


Strive Professional Certificate and Other Benefits

You’ll attend two-hour classes and workshops four times per week for eight weeks with a group of up to 10 participants and facilitators to develop the professional habits and skills needed to succeed. Upon completion of all requirements, you’ll receive your Strive Professional Certificate and you’ll have an updated resume, stronger interview skills, and the knowledge and ability to launch your career.

YW Strive facilitators are also always working to identify and share local employment opportunities with participants. Our facilitators are making connections with local employers and educating them on the value of the Strive Professional Certificate and what our program graduates can bring to their workplace.


  • Must be 18+ years old
  • Must have basic English literacy and math skills
  • Must show desire and ability to complete the full program

Preferred enrollment opportunities for women, people of color, those who have not completed a bachelor’s degree, and those who receive a referral through a partner agency.

For questions, please contact Candice Byrd, (309) 319-4318.


Local Employer or Agency Partnerships

Are you a local employer or nonprofit agency and want to partner with YW Strive? Contact Kate Brunk, (309) 454-1451, for more information.


YWCA Strive is partially funded by a Community Action Grant from AAUW and YWCA USA.


YW Strive is committed to promoting equity and providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community, including clients, staff, volunteers, community partners, and vendors. We are committed to helping individuals of all races, ethnicities, national origins, genders, sexual orientations, incarceration backgrounds, religions, ages, abilities, and other diversities succeed through our programming and services. We are committed to promoting equity throughout our operations, including the provision of services, staffing decisions, and selection of volunteers and vendors.