By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
HACM Resident Angelita Ingram Graduates from Training Program
When life gets hard, it can be difficult to find the strength to keep moving, but that’s exactly what Angelita Ingram has done and continues to do.
Last Thursday, Ingram along with five of her classmates graduated from Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee’s (HACM) first ever @Promise Resident Training Program. The program was created to help HACM residents on the path to “self-sufficiency.”
Ingram has been a resident of HACM for many years now. She first learned about the @Promise Resident Training Program when she was looking for a new job.
The program began with an informational meeting and a total of 55 residents showed up. Twelve were selected for the three-week program if they passed a screening.
Ingram explained that during the first meeting, each person stood up and introduced themselves. “It was intimidating,” she said.
HACM took their information provided during their introduction into consideration when deciding who to pick. Residents were told they would hear back in a couple of weeks.
“I actually got a call later that day saying I was in the program,” Ingram said.
For three weeks, Ingram and her classmates met two days a week for four hours. HACM called it a “job readiness boot camp.” A boot camp focused on three subjects: The Benefits of Self-Sufficiency, Career Assessment and Planning, Adapting to Change in Lifestyle and Careers.
After, six residents were chosen for paid training with HACM and to attend MATC to receive their administrative professional associate’s degree or office technology diploma.
Ingram began working at Lincoln’s Court as an office assistant this past Wednesday after six intense weeks of training.
“My goal is to stay here,” she said. “This is what I always wanted to do.”
Before this program, Ingram’s resume listed a plethora of jobs. Born in Chicago, Ingram’s family moved to Mississippi before coming to Milwaukee in 1985.
Those two years in Mississippi taught Ingram to respect her elders, a lesson that helped her in elementary school. The teachers cared for her and she loved Philip Elementary for it.
Middle school and high school exposed her to a lot. From foreign languages to new clubs, to kids with two-parent families. Ingram grew up on welfare, which meant shopping at thrift stores and doing her own hair; a skill that helped her earn some money.
During her time at Washington High School, Ingram maintained a 3.5 but at 16 she became pregnant. She joined Project STAY but missed the last weeks of class because her daughter had cryptosporidium.
One day, Ingram was sitting on her porch in a “drug populated area,” and with three kids and a knack for school, she decided to obtain her GED, for herself and her kids.
During this time, Ingram’s friends and family and even pastors helped care for her children. Their support allowed Ingram the opportunity to get her GED and attend Stratton College.
While she did well, Ingram was also dating a man who beat her. She didn’t tell anyone and planned to move away after graduation, however, a few days before, she discovered she was pregnant with twins.
After graduation, Ingram found an internship with Social Development Commission (SDC), sent her ex to prison, joined HACM and reunited with her kids.
Unfortunately, SDC let her go due to funding. From there she worked at Aurora Mt. Sinai, WYMCA, several daycare centers and FedEx.
Each time she lost her job, HACM lowered her rent.
“It just helped to stabilize my life,” she said.
For 18 years, Ingram has been living on 75th and Chambers, before she lived in Highland Park but after a shooting, she requested to live elsewhere. They’re the only black family living on the block she said, but with her new job, she hopes to buy the house.
At 43-years-old and a mother of seven, Ingram is doing what she’s always wanted to do. As an office assistant, she’ll work part-time, attend MATC to study office technology and continue to help others whenever she can.
“I’m ready for the challenge,” she said. “I know my purpose for being here.”