Fresh Start Women’s Foundation Leverages Technology from Gray Associates to Match Women with Training and Employment Opportunities

PHOENIX, Nov. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Fresh Start Women’s Foundation announced today the launch of their partnership with Gray Associates, a leading provider of software that supports data-informed decision-making for the Higher Education sector.

Gray Associates has donated software and licenses for PES+ (Program Evaluation System), together with strategic consulting and data analysis services to help Fresh Start identify employment market opportunities, skill requirements, and relevant training and degrees for their program participants: women seeking to achieve self-sufficiency through education and career development.

"The insights provided via this technology allows us to take our mission to a whole new level," says Kim McWaters, President and CEO at Fresh Start. "Thanks to Gray Associates, we have access to the data needed to identify the most in-demand jobs on the market, along with the education or training levels required to secure those jobs. Leveraging the same technology used by top educators and universities to predict these trends ensures that our education and career placements are not only effective, but that they’re sustainable and growth-oriented."

This approach also helps Fresh Start initiate productive dialogs with potential employers, educators, and scholarship sponsors. With a valuable, data-informed perspective, they are able to collaborate on the best ways to recruit, train, and help employers retain the talent they need. 

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Fresh Start has seen its disproportionate, detrimental effects on women and marginalized communities. In response, they are piloting a new program model in partnership with Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath).

This model uses an evidence-based, brain science-backed approach to examine the experience of poverty and its impact on neuroplasticity during crisis decision-making. The program informs Fresh Start’s innovative approach to helping women move out of poverty, with a focus on proven approaches to developing the sustained behavior changes necessary to attain and preserve economic independence.

"Gray’s PES+ software helps Fresh Start to support women seeking financial and other stability and advancement. Our team is proud to provide the solutions that use data to help analyze job markets and find matches for women with specific training and skills. The data allow the Fresh Start team to form more strategic partnerships with schools, vocational training programs, and employers." Said Mary Pahissa Upchurch, Senior Partner at Gray Associates. "This process creates paths forward for women that are long-term, with supports to develop a pipeline that meets everyone’s needs." 

Gray Associates CEO Bob Atkins says, "The partnership between Gray and Fresh Start allows participants to benefit from a comprehensive program assessment using data, software, and techniques proven in real-world work with over 100 higher education institutions. These techniques include student demand assessment, program economics analysis, feasibility studies, and competitive analysis. Additionally, Gray’s approach harnesses the power of technology and machine learning to ensure Fresh Start can fulfill their mission more effectively and help more women."

To request more information about Fresh Start or to get involved, please call (602) 252-8494 or email
 or visit

About Fresh Start Women’s Foundation:
Since 1992, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation has been on a mission to provide education, resources, and support for women to positively transform their lives and strengthen their communities.  Our organization envisions a world where every woman reaches her full potential through achieving personal empowerment and financial self-sufficiency.

Our nonprofit organization helps women 18 and up focus on key areas of their lives, with a wide range of services, classes, and workshops designed to develop the skills and sustained behavior changes necessary to attain and maintain economic independence.

About Gray Associates 
Gray Associates helps colleges and universities make data-informed decisions about their academic programs. Gray’s software integrates the best available data on student demand, employer needs, and competitive intensity for the market served by each institution. Faculty and administrative leaders use the software to score, rank, and evaluate programs in a collaborative process that builds consensus on programs to start, sunset, sustain, or grow. With Gray’s tools and processes, institutions identify paths to increase enrollment, revenue, and efficiency, while investing in their mission and strengthening relationships among faculty and administrators.

Jackie Lucas
Vera Voce Communication


SOURCE Fresh Start Women’s Foundation

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