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MISSOURI COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATION RECEIVES FUNDING THROUGH
THE CITI FOUNDATION AND LISC TO HELP TRAIN WORKERS
FOR GROWING JOB SECTORS
Community Services League, in Independence, will use $190,000 grant to help displaced workers prepare for skilled positions in healthcare, manufacturing
KANSAS CITY—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 Independence, Mo., to quality jobs in growth industries.
Community Services League (CSL) was awarded $190,000 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 the program and spur economic opportunity for thousands of families across the country.
Through Bridges, CSL is expanding its efforts to connect workers to opportunities as certified nursing assistants and as welders. CSL coordinates with employer and community partners to help address the challenges facing workers in and around Independence, and collaborates with a local community college to boost training opportunities.
“CSL's purpose is to make meaningful and lasting change in people's lives,” explained Doug Cowan, president of the 103-year-old organization. “We believe by connecting our neighbors to education and skills training in a career pathway that leads to livable wage jobs, we can fulfill our purpose. We are proud of the work we've been able to do in partnership with LISC, and now with the Citi Foundation, to provide transformational services to low-income families in our communities."
CSL 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 CSL, 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.
“The Bridges program is a proven resource that has already helped thousands of families raise their standards of living,” said Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO. “Our partnership with the Citi Foundation will help scale up that impact, knitting together significant support for skills development and jobs with other financial, health, and housing services that improve overall quality of life.”
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.