LISC National

Milwaukee Community Organization Receives Funding Through the Citi Foundation and LISC to Help Train Workers for Growing Job Sectors

Journey House will use grant to help displaced workers prepare for skilled positions in manufacturing, construction


MILWAUKEE—The Citi Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) today announced new funding through the Bridges to Career Opportunities initiative (Bridges) to help connect unemployed and underemployed people in the greater Milwaukee area to quality jobs in growth industries.

Journey House, a nonprofit on the city’s near south side, has been awarded $190,000 and technical support to help job seekers increase their incomes, improve their credit, and raise their standards of living. Services include skills training and career development, as well as personal finance coaching, continuing education courses (to strengthen math, reading, and writing skills), and resources to help job seekers secure transportation, child care, and housing arrangements, which can be impediments to career mobility.

The new funding is part of a $10 million three-year national effort by the Citi Foundation and LISC to expand the reach of Bridges and spur economic opportunity for thousands of families across the country.

“We are pleased to hear that the Citi Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) have selected Journey House as a recipient of the award,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “Journey House has built a highly regarded educational and career development program that has proven to be impactful to residents of the Clarke Square neighborhood and beyond.”


Journey House will use the new funding to expand its THRIVE program, a 13-week internship that is specifically designed to move people from extreme poverty to living-wage salaries. The program includes two weeks of Mental Toughness Skills Bootcamp, six weeks of employability and career pathway training, and four weeks of vocational experience. Journey House works with employers to place qualified candidates in jobs and provides additional counseling to support the long-term financial health of clients.

“For over a decade, LISC has been a valued and critical Journey House partner. We are honored to deepen our partnership with LISC and together enter a new collaboration with the Citi Foundation for the Bridges to Career Opportunities program,” said Dr. Michele Bria, CEO of Journey House. “We are truly excited about the all the opportunities and possibilities that will happen for our job seekers. This investment is truly game-changing.”

Journey House is among 40 community-based nonprofits to be awarded funding through this program (a full listing of participating organizations can be found here.) Notably, more than half of the sites, including Journey House, are located in Opportunity Zones, a federal incentive to increase investments in low-wealth communities as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

“The demands of today’s U.S. job market are playing out in different ways for American workers and we need to support those who are being negatively impacted by the forces that are shaping the modern economy,” said Ed Skyler, executive vice president for global public affairs at Citi and chair of the Citi Foundation. “By connecting programs that provide not only education and skills building, but support services for family and housing needs, we’re helping American workers who have been or are in danger of being displaced achieve success and contribute to their communities.”

The majority of people who enter the Bridges program are either unemployed or working in minimum wage jobs and testing at a 6th-8th grade education level. After Bridges, more than three-quarters of participants move on to occupational skills training and 64 percent achieve industry-recognized credentials—opening doors to living wage jobs they would not otherwise be able to access and putting them on career pathways with the opportunity for ongoing advancement. In the last two years alone, more than 3,000 training participants across the country have been placed in jobs.

“This grant is about investing in the economic mobility of families in Milwaukee,” Donsia Strong Hill, executive director of LISC Milwaukee, stressed. “When we help people develop the skills they need to compete for living-wage jobs, we are creating opportunities to increase economic vitality and enrich the lives of hundreds of families. I am pleased to further develop a stronger and consistent partnership with Journey House.”

“LISC recognizes that the most effective solutions to local challenges come from the local community. That’s why it is critically important that this investment by the Citi Foundation and LISC is bringing key resources to Milwaukee and placing them in the hands of a trusted and vital partner,” said Ellen Gilligan, president and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and a member of LISC’s national board. “Journey House competed against more than 60 applicants for these funds and demonstrated that they truly are positioned to advance equitable economic opportunities for the people they serve.”

The Citi Foundation’s investment in Bridges builds on a decades-long relationship between the Foundation and LISC. It also signals an expansion of Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative beyond youth-focused career readiness to provide adult job seekers the full range of services needed for long-term employment.



About the Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit



About LISC

With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $18.6 billion to build or rehab 376,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 63 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. To learn more, visit



About Journey House

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, Journey House has helped over 100,000 children and families move out of poverty through adult education, workforce readiness, youth development, and community engagement. Located in the Clarke Square Neighborhood on Milwaukee’s near south side, Journey House manages 28 acres of urban park land and has generated over $24 million in economic development projects to include a new Journey House Center, Journey House Packers Football Stadium with investment from LISC NFL Grassroots in Milwaukee County Mitchell Park, Journey House Felix Mantilla Little League Fields in Baran Park, and Campus Housing projects to provide affordable housing to homeless youth aging out of the foster care system. For more information about Journey House, visit




Nadiyah Groves, 414-930-1745




Elizabeth Kelly, 212-559-2477 


Journey House


Dr. Michele Bria, 414-647-0548, ext. 101