Pathways Out of Poverty
Pathways Out of Poverty, a 32-month, $8 million project, is building pathways into green industries for unemployed and disadvantaged individuals. Jobs for the Future distributes funds from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Pathways Out of Poverty initiative to workforce development projects in high-poverty neighborhoods of five cities seriously affected by the economic downturn: Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia. The project is part of JFF’s GreenWays Initiative through the National Fund for Workforce Solutions’ Green Pathways workforce partnerships.
JFF, in partnership with the AFL-CIO Working for America Institute and Wider Opportunities for Women, is working with local funders in five communities. The goal is to prepare low-income adults for jobs with career advancement potential by supporting sectoral workforce partnerships that align literacy, occupational training, support services, career coaching, and other resources with the needs of employers.
Pathways Out of Poverty builds on the strategies of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions to deliver employer-oriented education, training, job placement, and retention services in energy-efficiency and renewable-energy industries. The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is an unprecedented, national partnership testing new ways to address a critical problem: the large gap between the skills many workers have and the skills many employers need to compete. JFF is the implementation partner for the National Fund.
- Chicago (South Side): The National Fund’s local affiliate, Partnership for New Communities, is collaborating with the Chicago Housing Authority to invest in three workforce partnerships to recruit, train, and place CHA residents in a variety of green sector jobs. Two of the partnerships involve the LEED Council, Heartland Human Care Services, and the City Colleges of Chicago to provide training in energy-efficient building skills, residential weatherization, and deconstruction, leading to jobs in energy-efficient building maintenance. A third workforce partnership offers CHA residents training by the Safer Pest Control Project and transitional jobs in Integrated Pest Management. The National Fund’s local management partner is the Partnership for New Communities Fund at the Chicago Community Foundation. Amount of Grant: $690,000.
- Detroit (Hamtramck, East Detroit, Highland Park): The National Fund’s local affiliate, the Detroit and Southeast Michigan Fund for Innovative Workforce Solutions, supports workforce partnerships in hazardous-waste remediation. The Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice provide training and stackable credentials in environmental remediation, including lead and asbestos abatement, hazardous-waste removal, and safety. The National Fund’s local affiliate management partner is the United Way for Southeastern Michigan. Amount of Grant: $640,000.
- Los Angeles (South Bay/Harbor, West/South LA, and South LA): The National Fund’s local affiliate, the Los Angeles Workforce Funder Collaborative, supports workforce partnerships in several sectors: residential weatherization (lead partner: South Bay Workforce Investment Board); energy efficient building practices and environmental remediation (lead partner: WINTER); renewable electric power (lead partner: Verdugo WIB); and energy-efficient vehicle maintenance (lead partner: Los Angeles Community College District). The National Fund’s local affiliate management partner is the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. Amount of Grant: $1,400,000.
- Milwaukee (Citywide): The National Fund’s local affiliate, the Milwaukee Area Workforce Funding Alliance, supports three workforce partnership training programs in two industries: energy-efficient building, construction, and retrofitting with “Milwaukee Builds” (lead partners: Northcott Neighborhood House, Milwaukee Community Service Corps, Milwaukee Christian Center, and Wisconsin Community Services); a pre-apprenticeship program in energy-efficient infrastructure construction and retrofitting: water and sewer and highway (lead partner: Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership); and forestry/electric power (lead partners: Milwaukee Department of Public Works and WRTP). The National Fund’s local affiliate management partner is Urban Strategies. Amount of Grant: $1,075,000.
- Philadelphia (Point Breeze and South Philadelphia): The National Fund’s local affiliate, Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN), supports workforce partnerships in residential weatherization, deconstruction, and solar-panel installation. The lead partners are the Federation of Neighborhood Centers, two of its affiliate community agencies, and the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia. The National Fund’s local affiliate management partner is the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board. Amount of Grant: $1,040,000.
This project supports 10 workforce partnerships, each in one of these green sectors and occupations:
- Energy-efficient building construction and retrofitting: Weatherization technician, carpenter helper, residential energy auditor, sustainable building maintenance
- Renewable electric power: Smart-grid technician, solar photovoltaic panel installer
- Transportation and logistics: Alternative fuels engine technician
- Environmental protection: Hazardous-waste remediation
- Urban forestry: Tree trimmer, electric-line worker
In partnership with the Working for America Institute, Jobs for the Future assists workforce partnerships in strengthening their links to organized labor and aligning programs with union pre-apprenticeship standards. Wider Opportunities for Women provides technical assistance to workforce partnerships to improve the enrollment and success of women and underserved minorities in these well-paying, nontraditional occupations.
Collectively, these grants seek to serve 1,105 individuals directly, with 870 receiving basic education services and 723 receiving grant‐funded supportive services. Of the individuals who begin training, 997 will complete education or training and 770 will receive a degree or certificate. Of those who complete training or education, 910 participants will be placed into unsubsidized training related employment with career advancement potential.
JFF and its partners also will produce:
- A pre-apprenticeship development guide;
- A financial literacy and career coaching curriculum geared toward women and minorities entering the skilled trades;
- Recruitment and assessment materials to improve access for women and minorities in the skilled trades; and
- Family economic success benchmarks for each community.
- Partnership for New Community, Chicago, IL
- Detroit and Southeast Michigan Fund for Innovative Workforce Solutions, Detroit, MI
- Los Angeles Workforce Funding Collaborative, Los Angeles, CA
- Milwaukee Area Workforce Funding Alliance, Milwaukee, WI
- Job Opportunity Investment Network, Philadelphia, PA
U.S. Department of Labor, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Local Funders and Partners
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