CHICAGO, June 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Citi Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) today announced new funding through the Bridges to Career Opportunities initiative (Bridges) that will help connect unemployed and underemployed Chicagoans to quality jobs in growth industries.
Four Chicago nonprofits have been awarded nearly $700,000, along with 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, including 1,200 workers in Chicago.
The Chicago 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.
- lnstituto del Progreso Latino (Pilsen) will expand its Carreras en Salud Healthcare Career Pathway program so that participants can build their skills and their incomes through advancement. Workers can move from certified nursing assistant programs to an associate's degree in nursing and, eventually, to registered nursing degrees.
- Jane Addams Resource Corporation (Ravenswood) will boost its capacity to provide in-demand middle-skilled career pathways in manufacturing, including welding, electrical and machinist jobs.
- Metropolitan Family Services (citywide) will partner with the Institute for Workforce Education (IWE) at St. Augustine College—a dual language workforce development program—on a new occupational training program that helps participants become certified medical administrative assistants as an entry point for a continuum of health care jobs.
- North Lawndale Employment Network (Lawndale) will enhance its current program by providing advanced training in the administrative excellence track, where participants can earn a Microsoft Office Specialist certification as a way to better prepare for middle-skilled jobs in the transportation, distribution and logistics sector.
"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 Chicago 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 three of the four in Chicago, 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.
"We know healthy, sustainable communities are made up of people who have living wage jobs and feel confident about their economic futures," said Meghan Harte, LISC Chicago's executive director. "The Bridges initiative supports individuals to help them access and gain industry-specific skills for living wage careers, which ultimately supports economic opportunity in our neighborhoods."
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 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 $20 billion to build or rehab 400,500 affordable homes and apartments and develop 66.8 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. To learn more, visit www.lisc.org.
Ashleigh Wayland, (312) 422-9568
Elizabeth Kelly, 212-559-2477