About 13.8 percent of Jackson County residents live in poverty, according to U.S. Census records.

The state poverty rate is 10.7 percent.

Next week’s Bridges Out of Poverty is meant to remove the “stigma and emotion” from the topic of poverty and move that discussion toward “practical ways to apply the concepts to make a community better for everyone,” according to Jim Ott, school psychologist and nationally certified trainer for Bridges Out of Poverty.

“The work takes what is often a frustrating and emotionally charged topic within organizations and communities — poverty — and gives community members and practitioners from a variety of sectors a context for understanding the impact of poverty on individuals, families, institutions, and the community as a whole,” Ott explained.

Everyone is invited to free trainings and a keynote presentation Wednesday, Nov. 14, at The Timber Center, 1005 E. Platt St., Maquoketa.

Select from one of two three-hour sessions: 9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m. The keynote presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m., with pizza served to participants at 5.

Ott said the trainings are geared toward anyone in Jackson County who is interested in the topic and wants to learn about possible interventions the could help them personally, organizationally or for the whole community.

The workshop is based on the book “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” by Dr. Ruby Payne, founder of aha! Process, Inc., a company that provides workshops, publications, and consulting services to help improve lives and build sustainable success in communities, schools, and higher education.

The Bridges training is designed to help participants more effectively serve people who live or have lived in poverty by shedding light on their challenges, strengths and barriers to change.

Topics to be covered Nov. 14 include:

Hidden rules of socio-economic classes

Social and political factors affecting poverty

Understanding communication patterns

Four causes of poverty and barriers to change

Ermina Soler will also present during the training. Soler began studying the Bridges concepts during her AmeriCorps term with the city of Dubuque in 2009

According to organizers, Bridges Out of Poverty helps communities to:

Move individuals from poverty to self-sufficiency

Reduce social costs related to crime, poor health, and welfare

Strengthen educational attainment and job skills

Enhance economic development

Improve on-the-job productivity

Revitalize neighborhoods

Build sustainable communities where everyone can live well

“We will address myths and misconceptions about people who experience generational poverty and give both individuals and organizations the opportunity to consider what next steps they might take within their own situations,” Ott said. 

The training will set the groundwork for a future community collaborative initiative, he added.

“The trainings on Nov. 14 will be fast paced and focus more on overview than specific application. The hope is that this will be the beginning of a series of trainings and workshops that will get into the specifics of application in more detail in the coming months and years,” Ott explained.

Register for the Bridges Out of Poverty training at www.BridgesMaq.com.

The training is sponsored in part by a grant from the McDonough Foundation.