Employment, Job Related

Capital Investing in Development and Employment of Adults Inc

aka Capital Idea

Austin, TX


Capital IDEA’s mission is to lift working adults out of poverty and into high-paying careers through education. Our goal is to take low-income adults with an average 8th grade reading/writing/math ability level through a two-year Associates Degree or certificate program at a local community college, and into a career identified by local employer partners as being in high-demand. Capital IDEA serves the community by acting as a bridge, connecting committed, yet underemployed people to employers in need of highly skilled workers.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Mr. Steven Jackobs

Main Address

PO Box 1784

Austin, TX 78767 USA


Capital IDEA, low-income, job training, adult, education, work, career employment, poverty





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Employment Procurement Assistance and Job Training (J20)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

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Programs + Results

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Our programs

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Capital IDEA

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Our goal is to benefits the community by: Taking people off public assistance and turning them into participants in the American dream; Bringing hope to communities in need by providing successful role models; Raising the educational expectations of children; Providing a diverse and qualified talent pool for local businesses; and Expanding the local tax base.

Throughout the next year, we expect to serve nearly 800 adult students and, as part of our five year goals, we will expand to serve 1,000 students each year. Also included in Capital IDEA's current 2010-2015 strategic goals are plans to broaden community awareness of our mission, expanding dialogue with community and employer partners, and serving as a model of a worthy investment in low-income adult student success. The strong and successful collaboration between Capital IDEA and Austin Community College will be the key to the success of our long-term vision that every motivated low-earning adult in Central Texas can succeed in a high-paying career through education.

We believe education is the best way to break the cycle of poverty for the working families in Central Texas and for generations to come. With over twelve years of proven success, our innovative program provides the financial and emotional support that non-traditional, adult learners need to succeed in higher education and ultimately reach self-sufficiency.

Capital IDEA fully funds participants' direct education expenses such as tuition, fees, and books. Because our participants are non-traditional students with distinct needs, our program also provides a range of wrap-around support services that are vital to the academic success of adult learners. As needed, this includes assistance with childcare, transportation, and emergency expenses. All participants are provided intensive case management and counseling to help our working adult participants balance their busy lives with the demands of navigating and succeeding in the post-secondary education system. To complete the wrap around support, participants also meet weekly with peers in a one-hour session guided by their Career Counselor designed to teach participants study skills, financial management, and job-related "soft" skills that are known to be vital to the success of our adult learners in long-term career education.

The experience, passion, and dedication of Capital IDEA's staff and Board of Directors is key to our success. A total of 21 full-time employees make up the Capital IDEA professional team, led by Executive Director Steve Jackobs. Capital IDEA's Board of Directors is comprised of 16 members, seven leaders from the business community, eight members of Austin Interfaith, plus one representative of Capital IDEA's Alumni. Board members represent a diverse cross-section of the community and each brings a high level of commitment, experience, and engagement to the organization.

Capital IDEA benefits from the long-term commitment of our lead founding organization, Austin Interfaith, who creates the political support needed to sustain substantial public investment over multiple years. A coalition of community organizations, churches, schools, and unions, Austin Interfaith provides direct and real-time access to the working poor adults who need Capital IDEA support and offers to host orientations in low-income neighborhoods and non-urban areas throughout Central Texas.

External collaboration and partnership are principles on which Capital IDEA was founded and is how our program continues to make a significant impact in our community. On the educational side, Capital IDEA is in partnership with Austin Community College (ACC) and other training institutions in Central Texas to develop educational offerings that will meet the needs of our participants. In addition, we work closely with job training programs in Central Texas such as Workforce Solutions, the Texas Workforce Commission, and the Rural Capital Area Workforce Development Board to coordinate college preparation and training for high-skill, in-demand careers. From the business community, Capital IDEA develops informal employer partnerships to identify emerging careers that will provide a living wage, benefits, and opportunities for advancement for our participants.

The ultimate goal is for our participants to graduate and begin their career earning a living wage. Therefore, key indicators of progress are annual retention, graduation, and placement rates, as well as average starting salaries.

Capital IDEA maintains a versatile and extensive online database that allows for accurate evaluation for external funding entities and researchers, as well as for internal feedback and review. The database has the capacity to track and analyze a number of demographic variables which may impact student success rates. The system is also actively used by Career Counselors for case management purposes. The academic progress of each participant is measured using grade reports, counselors' case notes, and records of supportive services accessed - all of which are documented in the database. Each participant follows an academic track based on college major requirements, and the counselor and participant meet to create a plan of action if the participant is not progressing as anticipated. Participants placed in employment upon graduation provide Capital IDEA with documentation such as a paystubs, which allows for accurate tracking of earnings and calculation of change in income.

The data is regularly evaluated by a team that includes the Executive Director, the Director of Operations, and the Institutional Relations Officer. Overall program performance is monitored internally on a weekly basis, bimonthly by the Board of Directors, and on an ongoing basis as directed by public and private funders.

Since 1998, Capital IDEA has over 1,000 successful examples that our program is effective at transforming lives. The success of Capital IDEA is shown in our impressive record of taking people with the most barriers to higher education, getting them into college or training, graduating them with great academic records, and placing them with local employers, usually within a few months of their graduation. Capital IDEA boasts a 97% placement rate. For all completers entering employment in 2012, the average starting salary was just over $19 an hour, or nearly $40,000 annually. This is about three times the average annual income of $14,000 at program enrollment.

A sizable increase in earnings means graduates become homeowners, start savings accounts, open college accounts for their children and serve as role models for extended family, friends and neighbors. The long-term impact on the lives of our graduates is a testament to the strength of our methodology, and evidence of the effectiveness of our program.

Over the years, a number of external studies have reviewed and evaluated the long-term success of the program, including recent studies by The Aspen Institute and the Ray Marshall Center at the University of Texas. The results of these projects continue to inform our process for evaluating program effectiveness as we make progress toward our long-term goals. Capital IDEA will continue to encourage and support these research projects as the opportunities arise, as they do more than validate our program; they tell a compelling story about the potential of low-earning, under-educated adults.

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member 2004

United Way Member Agency 2008

Chamber of Commerce 2002



Capital Investing in Development and Employment of Adults Inc

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable