CEDAM is excited to announce our new Michigan Coalition for Responsible Lending Consultant, Orletta Caldwell! Caldwell is responsible for organizing the Coalition, legislative strategy, coordinating town halls and conducting payday lending research on trends and lending prevention strategies in other states.
For the past year Caldwell has worked as a Learning Center Coordinator in Detroit for Workforce Opportunity Services, a nonprofit organization that helps underrepresented populations and veterans get jobs with corporations. The organization ensures the needs of both the individuals and companies are met.
“We work directly with corporations, figure out their needs and develop a cohort academically,” Caldwell said. She notes that wrap around services for clients are the key to the program’s success. “If the person has any issue that is a barrier for them to be with this job, we work with them to get that barrier out of the way,” Caldwell said.
The organization provides interpersonal skill and academic classes, paying for education up to their bachelor’s degree. When clients are working within a program, they provide health benefits as well.
“I am so proud to be a part of that mission,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell also recognized a critical need for the nonprofits in her community. In conjunction with completing her Ph.D. in public policy & administration specializing in nonprofit management from Walden University, she started Beyond Existing Enterprises to help local organizations build capacity and run more efficiently.
“[This] was in my heart,” said Caldwell. “I noticed that when laws are made we’re the last ones to know.”
Payday lending is also close to her heart, as years ago she took out a cash advance loan herself. She knew, however, what the risks were, what the APR meant and how exactly you could get stuck. For her, it’s important to tell the payday lending story to save people from those financial burdens who don’t know what the risks are or what other options are out there.
“Getting banks and credit unions to help us, having people educated so they can make educated decisions and making legislators do their job to protect citizenry—that excites me,” Caldwell said.
Updates on the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Lending to come in the near future!