Press Release: Six Communities in South, Southwest to receive $1.8 Million to Develop Innovative Approaches to Training and Career Development

Awards Represent Distribution from Federal Government’s Social Innovation Fund

 

Boston, MA (February 15, 2011) – The National Fund for Workforce Solutions today announced grants totaling $1.8 million to cities in the U.S. South and Southwest to support innovative approaches to job training and career support. The awards represent the second step in implementation of the grant awarded to the National Fund and its implementation partner, Jobs for the Future, through the federal government’s landmark Social Innovation Fund.

 

“The National Fund supports innovation in workforce development by focusing on two customers: the employee and the employer,” said Damian Thorman, National Program Director at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Chair of the National Fund.

“The addition of these six sites, in a region where, until now, we had not had a strong presence, brings the total number of National Fund sites to 30. The fund believes that our dual customer approach is a transformational approach that will result in more people being able to have the dignity of a job. The expansion also will allow us to broaden our effort to find the best ways to prepare jobseekers and workers for the positions that will emerge as the economy recovers,” according to Thorman.

The grants announced today represent a combination of direct funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund and an equal amount of matching funds raised from private donors. The Social Innovation Fund is an innovative federal program that addresses major challenges confronting communities by growing high-impact nonprofit organizations delivering proven solutions.

Each of the new National Fund sites, selected through a competitive process, has a local funding collaborative in place, comprised of an array of private and public funders, investing in sector-based, workforce partnerships. They include:

  • Metropolitan Atlanta Workforce Funders Collaborative, Atlanta GA: $300,000 over two years. Contact: Diane McCants, 404-614-6236
  • Greenville Regional Funding Collaborative, Greenville, SC: $300,000 over two years. Contact: Cynthia Eason, 864-250-8601
  • Delta Workforce Funding Collaborative, Jackson MS: $300,000 over two years. Contact: Ivye Allen, 601-355-8167
  • Working Partners of Greater Louisville, Louisville KY: $300,000 over two years. Contact: Michael Gritton, 502-574-3069
  • Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council, Mobile AL: $300,000 over two years. Contact: Laura Chandler, 251-445-2090
  • Greater New Orleans Workforce Funders Collaborative, New Orleans LA: $300,000 over two years. Contact: Ellen Lee, 504-598-4663

(Download the print version for a complete description of each site.)

The grants being announced today are the second stage in awards made by the National Fund as part of the Social Innovation Fund. In late 2010, the National Fund awarded two-year grants to current National Fund sites, which are utilizing the grant dollars to expand the number of employees and employers served.

About National Fund for Workforce Solutions

The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is an award-winning national initiative focused on helping low-wage workers obtain good careers while at the same time ensuring that employers have the high-quality skills that will enable them to succeed in this highly competitive economy. Since 2008, the National Fund has raised nearly $24 million to support 24 communities that have contributed an additional $104 million in locally-raised resources from 216 different funding sources, including community foundations, United Ways, corporate foundations, workforce investment boards, chambers of commerce and state agencies. Each of these communities has created local funding collaboratives that are collectively investing in more than 80 sectoral workforce partnerships. The addition of these six new sites brings the total number of communities where the National Fund is working to 30.

Ten national funders lead the effort: Annie E. Casey Foundationthe California EndowmentFord Foundation; John S. and James L. Knight FoundationJPMorgan Chase & Co.MicrosoftThe Harry and Jeanette Weinberg FoundationThe Hitachi Foundationthe Prudential Foundation; and the Walmart Foundation.

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future develops, implements, and promotes new education and workforce strategies that help communities, states, and the nation compete in a global economy. In 200 communities in 41 states, JFF improves the pathways leading from high school to college to family-sustaining careers.