BOZEMAN, Mont., March 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 Bozeman and Livingston to quality jobs in growth industries.
Human Resources Development Council of District IX has been 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 Bridges and spur economic opportunity for thousands of families across the country, including nearly 200 in Bozeman and Livingston.
"Getting our local workforce properly trained and supported in their efforts to advance their own lives and careers is one of the most important things we can do for our communities," said Brit Fontenot, the director of economic development for the City of Bozeman, who said education and workforce development are among the pillars of the city's economic development strategy.
"We look forward to working with and supporting HRDC IX with this important project and would like to thank the Citi Foundation and LISC for their confidence in HRDC IX and the Bozeman community," he added.
Through Bridges, HRDC IX is expanding its education and job training services beyond its long-standing focus on young adults so it can service residents throughout their employment lifecycle. In Bozeman, the program will focus on building career pathways for workers in advanced manufacturing; in Livingston, it will prepare workers for jobs in healthcare.
"To us, this is about more than just a job," said Heather Grenier, executive director at HRDC IX. "It's also about succeeding in work, enjoying your career, and building a strong financial future. This is why we are excited for the opportunity to bring Bridges to our region. We see it as an excellent way to support employment and help workers advance their careers through educational opportunities."
HRDC IX is among 40 community-based nonprofits nationwide to be awarded funding through this program (a full listing of participating organizations can be found here.).
"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.
"We are committed to catalyzing economic opportunity in rural America, through innovative initiatives like Bridges," said Suzanne Anarde, LISC vice president and Rural LISC director. "This investment in HRDC IX—a valued member of Rural LISC's partner network for over 20 years—will yield a 'win-win' for workers and businesses, enhancing residents' job prospects and growing the pipeline of local talent in and around Bozeman. We're grateful to the Citi Foundation for the generous support that makes this program possible."
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.
Nadia Villagran, 760-641-3307
Elizabeth Kelly, 212-559-2477