Meet Jessica Hajek-Bates, a nine-year veteran of Blueprints. She is the director of the Building Futures component of Blueprints. In this position, she coordinates and manages the operations and supervisors of more than 20 programs.

“We have an eclectic program mix all focused on helping our clients to attain and maintain self-sufficiency, over time.”

She has her hands full with many other aspects of Blueprints as well.

“I take the lead on new program development including writing grants throughout the year. I also work directly with a number of our funders and their requirements and I develop and monitor all program budgets accordingly. I am a spokesperson for our work and facilitate presentations in the community on our programs. I also enjoy helping out with Blueprints’ branding and the development of promotional materials that highlight our work.”

Jessica believes the programs she helps to develop and coordinate are at the heart of Blueprints’ mission.

“In order to get out of poverty, our clients truly need the services we provide,” she says. She also believes that “comprehensive, innovative, and patient” are words that describe the agency as a whole.

Jessica is extremely proud she is of the work everyone does and how committed staff is with the projects they work on. One of her favorite projects is Work-Based Learning Experiences that is offered in partnership with OVR.

“We have the opportunity to help teenagers realize their potential and sometimes even decide on a career path based on this work experience. For teenagers who grow up in generational poverty, this is an opportunity for them to begin to see they have the power to break the cycle of poverty and earn a livable wage.”

She is very passionate about the work that directly relates to helping educate her family, friends and community on the struggles people in poverty face.

“As a certified-Bridges Out of Poverty trainer, I regularly refer to the ‘hidden rules’ of economic classes in conversations,” she said. “I have found that people can relate to these rules and in turn start to change their mindsets.”

Blueprints is comprehensive, innovative, and patient.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.” Jessica Hajek-Bates, Director of Building Futures, wrote this as her favorite quote, which she came across in her mid-20s. It reflects upon how she believes every “defeat” she’s experienced helped mold her into the person she is today.

Now that she’s in her very early 40s and starting to mentor younger people, she talks with them about learning to appreciate their “defeats,” and takes pride in how those challenges make them stronger.

Jessica is the Director of Blueprints’ Building Futures program.