There’s a catch-22 to unemployment in many low-income communities: basic skills gaps often prevent unemployed or underemployed residents from accessing training and credentialing programs that can lead to living-wage jobs; local industries often lack a workforce with the right blend of technical know-how and “soft” skills needed for success in the workplace. A solution lies in matching employers in need of workers with a specific skill set to job seekers who've been trained in those skills.
That’s what LISC’s Bridges to Career Opportunities model makes possible. Clients working with our national network of Financial Opportunity Centers (FOC) can ramp up foundational literacy and math skills, get technical training and pursue certifications for a particular industry—and receive support like financial coaching to set long-term goals and help manage expenses during training. These programs connect clients to “middle skills” jobs with a career pathway, and help local employers staff up with employees who can get the job done.
The Bridges to Career Opportunities initiative is integrated into our Financial Opportunity Centers. Neighborhood residents can take advantage of:
By blending this training with financial coaching, clients take the reins of their economic and professional lives.
In 2013, LISC began piloting the Bridges to Career Opportunities model in six cities. Based on the promising early outcomes of those pilot projects (and several FOCs that had a long track record of success with similar work), LISC was awarded a federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant in summer 2015 to expand the Bridges to Career Opportunities model to approximately 30 community-based sites across the country.
A white paper from our Houston office