Community centers have always been at the forefront of creating opportunities to get underserved groups of residents ready for jobs. This award recognizes innovative programs that respond to the specific needs of target populations by providing comprehensive training and support to help youth and adults obtain and maintain jobs, and succeed in the workforce.
The winner and finalists in the Skills Training for Targeted Populations award category have taken on the challenge of addressing the needs of those individuals at the bottom of the economic ladder. These programs are achieving remarkable success by developing effective and efficient ways to meet the unique job training needs of targeted populations.
Applications were vetted by internal teams, and the winner and finalists selected by an external panel of professionals. Judges looked for a comprehensive analysis of local underserved populations and the targeted population served, identification and addressing of specific skills, tailored soft skills development, and program elements that increase job success and retention.
Family Service Agency
Community Re-Integration (CRI) Program
The Family Service Agency’s Community Re–Integration (CRI) Program addresses the need to create more jobs, training opportunities and services for the approximately 90,000 adults on probation or parole in Arizona. This high risk population faces unique barriers to employment such as low skill levels; poor educational outcomes; limited work experience; lack of peer support after jail; lack of employer willingness to hire ex–offenders; homelessness and ongoing substance abuse problems and/or physical or mental disabilities.
The CRI Program exclusively helps underserved ex–offenders become contributing members of society by preparing for, securing and maintaining long-term jobs through job readiness training, support services, resources, and partnerships with employers.
Through educating business on the societal benefits of hiring ex–offenders and the barriers faced by this population, the program reduces the stigma associated with the ex-offender label and promotes successful re–integration.Read More…
Family Service Agency estimates the CRI Program saved Arizona taxpayers $1 million in 2010–11 by reducing recidivism rates (returning to prison) through assisting ex–offenders in securing gainful employment, transitioning individuals and families off welfare assistance and increasing the community’s income/sales tax revenues.
Program highlights include:
Impressive results from
Henry Street Settlement
ESL/Job Readiness Program
New York, New York
Henry Street Settlement’s ESL/Job Readiness Program combines job training and English language instruction for low–income, unemployed immigrants through customized curricula that help participants overcome individual employment and language barriers.
New York City serves as an entry point for immigrants from around the world. Annually, over 150 new Americans are prepared for employment; and 120 are placed in jobs that allow them to begin integrating into American society. Since it began eight years ago, the program has placed 763 community residents with poor English-language skills in meaningful employment across a variety of sectors, including food service, hotel/hospitality, security, and other industries.Read More…
EMERGE Community Development
North 4 Project
EMERGE’s North 4 Project offers gang-involved youth (ages 16–21) job training and employment opportunities. The program creates a safe place for youth to receive intensive coaching and support, and an environment to help them leave gangs and become productive members of their community. The program focuses on youth in four North Minneapolis neighborhoods, where more than half of the city’s homicides occur.
While the North 4 Project is relatively new, it has a 100% success rate in placing graduates in at least one subsidized job. Alumni are extremely loyal and supportive of the program, with 70% giving back by referring candidates, co-facilitating program orientations and serving as guest speakers.Read More…