New York – The Citi Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) today announced the 40 community-based organizations that will receive funding and technical support through the Bridges to Career Opportunities initiative (Bridges) to expand their work in communities across the U.S. Focused on helping American workers secure steady employment, the 40 organizations chosen are connecting unemployed and underemployed workers with jobs in growth industries that need trained workers, including healthcare, transportation, technology, and construction.
Through an expanded network of local sites across the U.S., more than 10,000 job seekers will have access to a range of services designed to increase their incomes, improve their credit and raise their standards of living. These 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 child care and housing arrangements, which can serve as impediments to career mobility.
Roughly half of the community-based organizations will use the funding over the next three years to expand their existing Bridges programs to reach more people with a broader range of training and opportunities; the other half will be launching Bridges for the first time with new services.
For example, Focus: HOPE in Detroit, is launching a new robotics program to support people moving into careers in automation, manufacturing and information technology fields. Other services, like one-on-one financial coaching, assistance with transportation and help navigating public programs like food stamps that can stabilize families during training, will also be offered.
In Houston, where one in every nine workers in the city works in the healthcare industry, Volunteers of America is expanding its programming so that low-wage veterans and other workers can move from entry-level health care jobs into more advanced patient care and technology positions. Skills training is paired with extensive financial coaching that includes budgeting, savings and credit repair to help build stronger financial futures.
The International Rescue Committee in San Diego is expanding its work with refugees, immigrants and residents with low-incomes, offering new training focused on jobs in the fast-growing solar industry—a sector identified by the San Diego Workforce partnership as a priority because employers currently struggle to fill installation and maintenance jobs. IRC career development coaches also connect participants to noneconomic services that are critical for stability and growth, such as mental health and legal services.
A full listing of participating organizations is available. More than half of the sites are 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.
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.
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