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DETROIT--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 Detroiters to good jobs in growth industries.
Three local nonprofits have been awarded $510,000 and technical support to provide services that 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 and reading 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, including more than 600 in Detroit.
The Detroit grantees all have long and successful track records of outreach in the communities they serve. They will use the Bridges funding to tailor their services to growing employment sectors and to reach a wider range of local residents.
Focus: HOPE will build out services around robotics training that can help participants move into careers in automation, manufacturing, and information technology.
Operation ABLE will expand and intensify its occupational training, help clients overcome barriers to job retention and launch a new program focused on entrepreneurship in the hospitality industry.
SER Metro will focus on education and skills training in the building trades, connecting people with apprenticeships and employment.
The Detroit groups are 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 all three in Detroit, 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.
“LISC Detroit is grateful to the Citi Foundation for recognizing the impact that the Bridges to Career Opportunities program has had in Detroit. The integration of industry training, resulting in stackable credentials and financial coaching, enables residents access to higher wage positions and financial stability,” said Tahirih Ziegler, executive director of Detroit LISC. “This new investment supports innovation and capacity at of each of these sites.”
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.
"We are so excited that the Citi Foundation has invested in this initiative to help adults move ahead on their career path, creating more financial stability for families and a new pool of talent for local businesses," said Mary McDougall, executive director of Operation ABLE.
Eva Garza Dewaelsche, president and chief executive officer of SER Metro-Detroit says, “SER Metro-Detroit is proud to be a part of the Citi Foundation family. With LISC and the Citi Foundation’s support, SER’s skilled trades Bridge program will expand its credential offerings to improve Detroiters’ access to construction careers and contribute to the revitalization of Detroit.”
Jewel Chapman, director, workforce development and education at Focus: HOPE adds, “Focus: HOPE seized an opportunity to build out a robotics training pathway to enhance our program. We are grateful for the Citi Foundation’s investment, which will help provide our students with state-of-the-art training that will lead to credentials and employment in a rapidly growing industry.”
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 www.citifoundation.com.
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 www.lisc.org.
Jessica Hinton, 313-265-2891
Amanda Fox, 347-581-6498
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