For years, James Halliday wanted to work in a social service capacity with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS). “I really enjoy working with people and I like helping them get ahead in their lives,” he said. “Unfortunately, almost all of the jobs I applied for with the Tribes required a college degree, which I didn’t have.” Though James had completed some college, he felt he needed to do more to achieve his career goals. In July 2012, with the goal of getting a degree from Oregon State University (OSU) Cascades, he opened an IDA account matched with federal funding from the Assets for Independence Initiative (AFI), and began saving his own hard-earned dollars. Within six months, Mr. Halliday earned $4,000 in matching funds, matched with $800 of his own dollars, to help him pay for college. He used the funds to pay for courses and books at OSU Cascades, taking classes in social work, economics, communication, sustainability, and resource management. After utilizing all of the savings in the IDA, he enrolled in a new IDA, funded through the Oregon IDA Initiative. Through this IDA, he earned nearly $6,000 more in matching funds. With this, he was able to pay for additional coursework, course books, and a laptop computer.
In 2014, James Halliday graduated from OSU Cascades with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science. According to James, “The IDA program was essential in allowing me to achieve my educational goals; I needed the program to make it through my last two years of school.” Soon after completing his degree, James applied for work as a counselor in the CTWS Vocational Rehabilitation Department, and got the job. Since then, James has assisted Warm Springs community members with disabilities in finding work, developing work and life skills, and in working towards long-term vocational goals.