SOME CET Preparing Adult Learners for Careers in Healthcare

 
CET_2018-02_ByThomWolf_150.jpg
 

This post is part of a series highlighting the impact of our grantmaking through the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative. Launched in 2008, this coalition of funders aligns its investments in effective, data-driven workforce development efforts. Grantees are selected to receive funding and lead sector partnerships. So Others Might Eat Center for Employment Training (SOME CET) is one of three grantees from our most recent round of awards.

The SOME CET is a tuition-free adult workforce-training program that prepares adult learners for national, industry-recognized certifications for careers in healthcare and building trades like engineering, electrical, HVAC, and more. The program empowers people to move themselves out of homelessness and poverty and into living wage careers through hard and soft skills training, adult basic education, and career development.

Greater Washington Works selected SOME CET to lead a healthcare sector partnership that trains and places DC and Prince George’s County residents in Certified Medical Assistant and Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist occupations. The organization has partnered with the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation and employer partners including Abundant Health Chiropractic & Wellness Center, Providence Hospital, and Unity Health Care. “Because of this initiative, the number MD residents enrolling in SOME CET has increased by 172 percent between January and October of 2018, making them the fastest growing subpopulation of our students,” says Emily Price, SOME CET’s Chief Program Officer. “Moreover, the grant funds offered through GWW have allowed us to expand to meet this demand and initiate some best practices in the field of Adult Ed and Workforce Development.”

IMPACT STORY: CHARLES DOZIER as told by SOME CET

Charles Dozier is one of the most remarkable individuals we have worked with during this grant period. Mr. Dozier distinguished himself throughout the program with his professionalism, enthusiasm for the medical field, and drive for excellence and self-improvement.

Mr. Dozier maintained a 3.6 grade point average while excelling in his basic skills courses. As evidence of this, he attained an educational functioning level gain in reading (equivalent to 2 or more grade levels of primary school) and a point gain (equal to more than one grade level) in math. Mr. Dozier also successfully passed his National Healthcareer Association Certified Medical Administrative Assistant exam. During this time, he was also in the process of applying to Georgetown University and was accepted after completing their interview process.

Mr. Dozier served as an extern at Providence Hospital, one of our industry sector partners, and was hired on 4/9/2018. One of the benefits about this job that he found most appealing was that Providence offers tuition assistance, allowing him to continue his education. While he has delayed his enrollment to Georgetown due to both time and financial considerations, Mr. Dozier has registered at UDC and intends to begin prerequisites for a nursing degree this coming fall.

The Workforce Collaborative is a coalition of local workforce investors who share a common commitment to addressing poverty and income inequality by helping workers advance their skills and credentials so they can earn family-sustaining wages. Current Collaborative partners include The Community Foundation, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Consumer Health Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, the Moriah Fund, Northern Virginia Health Foundation, the Weiss Fagen Fund, the Marian Osterweis Fund, United Way of the National Capital Area, and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation.

Greater Washington Works is a $1 million grantmaking initiative of the Collaborative designed to address local employer hiring challenges by meeting the talent needs of local IT and Healthcare employers. Greater Washington Works will support at least 250 local workers to launch living-wage careers in the IT and Healthcare sectors.

Preparing Our Region for the Future of Work

By Benton Murphy, Senior Director of Community Investment at The Community Foundation

School+at+Work+Students[2].jpg

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative, I am reminded of how The Collaborative was established at a time when our region was gripped by the Great Recession, with unemployment spiking to more than 7 percent and many of our neighbors unable to meet basic needs for food, shelter and healthcare. The Greater Washington Community Foundation helped mobilize and direct the local philanthropic response with major investments in homelessness, hunger, and education. The Collaborative was an opportunity to bring local philanthropists and businesses together to support both immediate and long-term solutions by investing in job training in fields from green construction to healthcare to help more of our neighbors get good, living wage jobs.

Ten years later, unemployment in our region is down (currently at 3.5 percent) and conditions have improved for many of our neighbors. Yet economic insecurity still remains a major challenge for many residents, especially people of color, and the Workforce Collaborative’s work is even more relevant today than when it was founded. Our recent VoicesDMV community engagement initiative surveyed more than 3,000 local residents on their experience in their communities and their overall quality of life. When asked what would happen if they lost their current sources of income, one in three people said they would not have enough money to continue to live as they do today for more than two months. This share rose to nearly half of people without a bachelor’s degree and more than half of people with household incomes below $50,000.

Our low unemployment rate masks deep issues of income inequality in our region. Black workers make just 47 percent of what whites make in Washington, DC alone, according to Census data. Since the Great Recession our local job market has become even more competitive, with a greater and greater share of job openings requiring some form of post-secondary education. Many jobs that once were the mainstay of the middle class—from bank tellers to librarians to cashiers at your local grocery store—are disappearing due to automation.

The impact on our workforce is clear—today average firms employ fewer workers and offer fewer opportunities for workers with no postsecondary education or training. The result is a widening gap between rich and poor that is keeping many un- or under-employed stagnating in low-wage work or struggling to meet the demands of multiple part-time positions. Yet access to job training programs is a challenge for many in our region, with nearly a third of Prince George’s County and Montgomery County  residents rating access to education and training as a “major” barrier to finding a job, according to VoicesDMV.

It is with this reality in mind that The Community Foundation has refreshed our workforce development strategy to orient toward the Future of Work. We will continue our work to eliminate income gaps, especially those based on race or ethnicity, but with a specific focus on connecting workers to quality job opportunities in the occupations of tomorrow to help them enter and advance in their careers, build skills, and increase wages. We will also make investments in small businesses and local entrepreneurs that make up an increasing share of our local economy.

Enter into this new economic reality the potential for Amazon HQ2, with an estimated 50,000 new high-paying jobs. HQ2 presents a tremendous opportunity to spur our region’s growth, but what will it do to our relative prosperity? A recent op-ed by our CEO Bruce McNamer and Sarah Rosen Wartell from Urban Institute pointed out how racial and economic inequities that have long plagued our region could prevent many residents from having equal access to these new jobs, modern housing and other amenities that growth brings. 

I interviewed some of our region’s workforce development system and policy leaders to hear their thoughts. Will these new jobs be offered to local residents rather than importing workers from across the country to fill these high-skill, high-wage jobs? Local leaders are hopeful that at least 50 percent of Amazon’s new workforce will be local, and yet they are also concerned that many in our region do not have the skills or experience to compete effectively against imported workers from other regions. Amazon’s recent partnership with Northern Virginia Community College— to provide a specialized Cloud Computing credential for its Amazon Web Services operation in Northern Virginia— has made local leaders hopeful that Amazon will think locally to meet its talent pipeline needs and provide opportunities for local residents to land fulfilling careers at Amazon.

As we consider the Future of Work in our region, we will look to continue to find ways to help employers—like Amazon—get connected to the right workers with the right skills. We will also work to examine closely how our region can offset the negative consequences that economic development on the scale that HQ2 can bring. From massive pressures to our transportation infrastructure, local schools, and, perhaps most worryingly, an increase in the upward pressure on housing prices and exacerbate our region’s existing housing affordability crisis, Amazon’s presence is a double-edged sword. The Community Foundation, through the Collaborative and our other Future of Work investments—can be a place where philanthropy can support efforts to ensure that all our region’s residents can benefit from the prosperity that Amazon may bring to the region.

If you’re interested in learning more about our focus on the future of work, I encourage you to take advantage of the following resources:

 

A Framework for Building Thriving Communities

Dear friends and community members,

As a community foundation, having a finger on the pulse of our community is central to who we are and our ability to make a difference in the lives of those who call our region their home. Last year, in partnership with Urban Institute, we launched Voices of the Community: DC, MD, VA (VoicesDMV) to connect directly with the people and communities we serve and understand our neighbors’ experiences in their neighborhoods, jobs, schools, with local government, and with each other — and to identify the role philanthropy can play in enhancing or improving those experiences.

VoicesDMV revealed a region in which, while separated by income, education or geographic boundaries, all of us share similar hopes and dreams. We all want a better overall quality of life for ourselves and our families, including the opportunity to live in a safe and welcoming environment, obtain a quality education, earn a living wage, and build assets for a secure future. And yet, as prosperous as our region is, our survey found that deep disparities in income and opportunity persist and the gap continues to widen, preventing many of our neighbors, particularly people of color due to historical discrimination, from accessing the region’s economic growth and prosperity.

A decade ago, our Economic Security Framework was created as a direct response to the economic crisis and its impact on the region, with a focus on workforce development, safety-net services, and education. But the nature of today’s challenges requires a different approach, one that goes deeper toward addressing systemic issues to improve the economic and social well-being of people and communities who have long been marginalized, particularly communities of color. While economic security will remain part of our work going forward, we have taken this opportunity to refresh our focus areas to fully capture the range of efforts that are critical to building thriving communities. Our new Building Thriving Communities Framework will broaden our work with donors and partners across the region to disrupt poverty, deepen human connection, and prepare for the future of work.

With this refresh, we seek to deepen and expand existing work by leveraging new tools, prioritizing strategic partnerships across sectors, and developing innovative approaches to addressing the region’s most pressing challenges. This includes a new partnership with the District of Columbia Interagency Council on Homelessness to launch a broader public-private partnership that will build off the District’s plans to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring by making critical investments to accelerate our community’s response.

We are also deliberately centering racial equity and community voice in our community leadership efforts and in our grantmaking. For example, as our Workforce Development Collaborative celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, the focus will remain on supporting programs and policies which help workers advance their skills and credentials, but with a special emphasis on eliminating inequities based on race, ethnicity or gender and providing new career pathways and wealth-building opportunities.

We hope you see a connection between our Building Thriving Communities Framework and your own charitable giving plans. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss how The Community Foundation can support your broader interests. You can also make an unrestricted gift to the Fund for Greater Washington to support our ongoing community change work across the region. Your continued partnership and support are crucial as we seek to build thriving communities today and for generations to come.

Sincerely,

 
 Bruce McNamer, President and CEO

Bruce McNamer, President and CEO

 Tonia Wellons, VP of Community Investment

Tonia Wellons, VP of Community Investment

 

An EPIC Expansion: Byte Back Offers First Certification Classes Outside of DC

This post is part of a series highlighting the impact of our grantmaking through the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative. Launched in 2008, this coalition of funders aligns its investments in effective, data-driven workforce development efforts. Grantees are selected to receive funding and lead sector partnerships. Byte Back is one of three grantees from our most recent round of awards.

 Byte Back Training Manager Ellen Bredt speaks to prospective EPIC students in August 2017.

Byte Back Training Manager Ellen Bredt speaks to prospective EPIC students in August 2017.

Unemployment in the District of Columbia ranges from ward to ward, with the highest being in the city’s lowest income neighborhoods. Byte Back, a DC-based nonprofit organization, was founded in 1997 to help open doors to living wage jobs for low-income residents through IT training. To date, thousands of economically disadvantaged students in Washington, DC and neighboring Prince George’s County have been served, acquiring marketable skills and obtaining meaningful employment.

In early 2017, Byte Back received a grant from The Community Foundation’s Greater Washington Works initiative.  The organization was selected to lead an IT sector partnership to train and place DC and Prince George’s County residents for Computer User Support Specialist occupations. In the fall of 2017, Byte Back launched the Education Partnership for IT Careers (EPIC) program with the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation. This program made way for expansion into Prince George’s County, marking the first time the organization offered certification courses outside of the District. Their employer partners include: ANGARAI, PC Metro, OCTO; International Software Systems, Inc., NucoreVision, SAGE Services Group, Soft-Con Enterprises, Inc., and SSAI Science Systems and Applications, Inc.   

The program has paved opportunities for active employer partners to connect directly with participants and help them launch careers in IT. One such example is Ms. Kristina Francis of EsteemLogic, an IT consulting and training firm. Ms. Francis is an active participant in EPIC’s strategic meetings and contributes to developing participants’ careers. Three EPIC participants will be referred through EsteemLogic’s apprenticeship program, which helps develop soft skills and ensure placement in careers that use their newly acquired tech skills. Participants also receive access to professional development, mentorship, and internships. Click here to learn more about EPIC and its impact.


Greater Washington Works is a signature grantmaking initiative of the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative, a coalition of local workforce investors who share a common commitment to addressing poverty and income inequality by helping workers advance their skills and credentials so they can earn family-sustaining wages. Greater Washington Works is a $1 million grantmaking initiative of the Collaborative designed to address local employer hiring challenges by meeting the talent needs of local IT and Healthcare employers. Greater Washington Works will support at least 250 local workers to launch living-wage careers in the IT and Healthcare sectors.

In 2018, the Collaborative celebrates its 10th anniversary. To learn more and get involved, visit http://www.gwwdc.org.

Journey to Security: An Immigrant Woman's Path to Launching a Career in IT

When Betty Gebremariam, an Ethiopian immigrant, sought a new position in the US to support her family, she knew a few challenges lay ahead. Most of her work experience was in Ethiopia, and English was her second language. And, though educated at Admas College in Ethiopia, Betty had no United States based training or education. Her husband was employed, but with two children, the family still struggled financially.

Motivated and determined, Betty decided to focus her energy not only on getting a job, but on launching a career with longevity and financial security for her family. She knew that the IT industry was in-demand and saw many opportunities in the field, so Betty set her sights on a position as a help desk technician.

In February 2016, Betty turned to the Skillsource Group, a nonprofit organization that offers employment and training services to Northern Virginia area employers, job seekers and youth. The Northern Virginia IT Employment (NVITE) Partnership, led by Skillsource, was one of three grantees selected by The Community Foundation’s Workforce Collaborative to provide unemployed and underemployed low-income job seekers with intensive case management, employment coaching and skills training to launch or advance them into entry-level Information Technology living wage careers as Computer User Support Specialists.

That May, Betty started training at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and earned a JAVA programming certification. Intellectual Point, a technology company in Reston, had an open position for a help desk technician. Betty’s case manager submitted her resume, now equipped with a new skillset, for the On-the-Job Training (OJT) opportunity, and Betty was hired after interviewing with the owner. She excelled and retained employment with Intellectual Point, earning $15 an hour.

“I am so grateful to Skillsource Group for assisting me in training and job placement. I am now starting my dream job path,” Betty says. “I have been energized to traverse the road ahead in success.” Betty adds her financial distress is gone, and remarks how patient and helpful Skillsource Group and her new employer Intellectual Point were in her journey.

The Workforce Collaborative congratulates Betty on her new career — Betty is the very first job candidate to graduate and achieve a job placement through the Collaborative’s Greater Washington Works initiative.

The Workforce Collaborative is a coalition of local workforce investors who share a common commitment to addressing poverty and income inequality by helping workers advance their skills and credentials so they can earn family-sustaining wages. Current Collaborative partners include The Community Foundation, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Consumer Health Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, the Moriah Fund, Northern Virginia Health Foundation, the Weiss Fagen Fund, the Marian Osterweis Fund, United Way of the National Capital Area, and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation.

Greater Washington Works is a $1 million grantmaking initiative of the Collaborative designed to address local employer hiring challenges by meeting the talent needs of local IT and Healthcare employers. Greater Washington Works will support at least 250 local workers to launch living-wage careers in the IT and Healthcare sectors.

To learn more about The Workforce Collaborative, visit www.gwwdc.org.