SOME CET Preparing Adult Learners for Careers in Healthcare

 
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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

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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:

 

Investing in Root Cause Solutions to Addressing Poverty

 The Green Clean Coop, photo courtesy of Impact Silver Spring

The Green Clean Coop, photo courtesy of Impact Silver Spring

Starting a business can be challenging under any circumstances, but especially when you are committed to doing it cooperatively. That was the challenge—and opportunity—when five Montgomery County residents came together under the auspices of the nonprofit IMPACT Silver Spring to start a worker-owned environmentally-friendly cleaning service. Cooperative members pooled their savings for start-up equipment and supplies while graphic design and marketing help were provided by connections made through the IMPACT network. The result: The Green Clean Cooperative.   

IMPACT also helped birth a financial lending cooperative, among other ventures. It’s an entrepreneurial model that attracted the attention of the Greater Washington Community Foundation and led to a grant from the Catalyst Fund. The new fund is focused on community-based efforts to support small business, mirco-enterprise development and entrepreneurship. In addition to IMPACT Silver Spring, grants ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 were awarded to CASA, Crossroads Community Food Network and Life Asset. Read more about these grants from the Catalyst Fund.

“The Catalyst Fund grants underscore the importance of investing in wealth-building and entrepreneurship and signal a need for more philanthropists and funders to invest in preparing workers for The Future of Work,” said Tonia Wellons, The Community Foundation’s Vice President of Community Investment. “The Community Foundation is making this one of the hallmarks of its strategy to disrupt poverty and build thriving communities across the Greater Washington region.”

According to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, the median net worth of business owners is almost 2.5 times higher than non-business owners. For people of color, the distinction is even greater. Just ask Amilcar Pena. As a worker-owner of the Green Clean Cooperative, he is taking home around $20 an hour, compared to the $10 to $12 he would earn working for a private company, he says.

“It’s heartening to see The Community Foundation investing in innovative strategies that go beyond managing symptoms to root cause solutions,” said IMPACT Silver Spring Executive Director Jayne Park. “While jobs can help people get out of poverty, they need assets to stay out of poverty.” 

The Catalyst Fund grew out of The Community Foundation’s long history of supporting job training and workforce development solutions, including through leading the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative for the last decade. It was created after an anonymous donor passed away in 2016, leaving a $6 million bequest for an endowed fund. His wish was to see the gift benefit the Greater Washington region—a place he called home for 50 years.

In his later years, the donor discussed with his financial advisor, Nicholas Durso of Sun Trust Bank, how best to create a lasting legacy. “He was a good man who wanted to help people who wanted to help themselves,” says Durso. The Community Foundation offered the perfect vehicle: a field of interest fund that allows donors to support organizations working within a specific geographic region toward a specific purpose.

“The Community Foundation offered the infrastructure and expertise and has been the perfect partner,” said Durso, who works closely with the staff. “In recommending grantees, they’ll say, ‘you knew the donor best, what are your thoughts?’ It’s a collaborative relationship.” The Catalyst Fund “is a reminder of what a great man he was,” says Durso of his client. 

The anonymous donor would undoubtedly be pleased to know that 10 months after the Green Clean Cooperative was launched, it already has 19 clients and is providing steady income for the worker-owners who share in profits and continue to put money back into the business every month.

 

Establishing a legacy fund with the Greater Washington Community Foundation is an excellent way to create a lasting impact. To learn more, please contact Director of Development Joanne Pipkin at 202-263-4781 or jpipkin@thecommunityfoundation.org.

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.

New Investments in Job Training to Benefit More than 100 District Residents

The Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative, an initiative of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, today announced new investments in five local community-based organizations designed to help DC residents get the skills and training they need to gain employment. The funded programs will offer training in a host of industries including hospitality, IT, healthcare, education, and the construction trades.

These investments are the result of a philanthropic partnership between the Workforce Collaborative and the developers of a new mixed-use property at 965 Florida Avenue NW in the District, a joint venture between MRP Realty, JBG Smith, and Ellis Development. As a part of the Planned Unit Development for this 10-story mixed use project, the developers have worked in partnership with The Community Foundation to establish the 965 Florida Avenue NW Job Training Grant Program, administered by the Workforce Collaborative.

The Workforce Collaborative is a partnership comprised of local foundations, philanthropists, and business. Its investments help workers acquire the skills and credentials they need to launch successful, family-sustaining careers, and help businesses attract, retain, and advance the skilled workforce they need to provide critical services to our community and remain globally competitive.

All five funded projects were asked to propose work that will specifically focus on residents living within one mile of the 965 Florida Avenue NW development.

The 965 Florida Avenue project will help prepare local residents with the workplace skills and training they need…" said MRP Realty Vice President for Development Michael Skena, "…it is this type of public-private partnership between business, philanthropy, and the nonprofit sector that will provide high quality career opportunities for residents in our neighborhood."

Partnering Together for Community Benefit

The developers worked alongside The Community Foundation and the Workforce Collaborative to develop a targeted grantmaking approach to ensure residents have access to a wide-range of services and opportunities to learn new skills and launch living-wage careers in industry sectors primed for growth. The Community Foundation developed its Request for Proposals and vetted applications from local training providers in lockstep with representatives of ANC 1B, the ANC in which the 965 Florida Avenue NW development sits.

“The process that The Community Foundation developed was inclusive and took into consideration the needs of our local community,” noted James A. Turner, Chairman of ANC1B. “We are thrilled to have been able to help drive the process that has yielded grants to these five great local nonprofits.”

Funded partnerships include:

Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School will serve 25 residents of the target area through their integrated Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education and Career Pathways program. Their goal is to help each adult learner attain a high school credential and enter post-secondary workforce training or higher education. Academy of Hope focuses its efforts in the area of hospitality, healthcare and IT careers for adult literacy learners.

Community Services Agency of Metro Council AFL_CIO will provide construction pre-apprenticeship training, case management and job placement services to 20 low-income residents of the target geographic area to be served.

Literacy Lab will build capacity to recruit ten young men of color from DC public high schools in Ward 1 to participate in the Leading Men Fellowship, a program to increase workforce readiness by engaging young men of color in careers in early childhood education.

Literacy Volunteers and Advocates will create a program for 30 adults with an interest in obtaining a job in the technology field who need to improve their basic skills in order to become employment ready. The development of the AT Work! (Adults, Trained and Working) program will focus on integrating adult basic literacy skills with Information Technology skills, with a specific focus on preparing these adults for entry level administrative or help desk positions.

New Futures will provide comprehensive services to 15 low-income, first generation young adults pursuing degrees in IT and healthcare, including scholarships, post-secondary persistence and completion support, and career planning, skill-building, and preparation programs—all in service of launching high-growth careers that lead to financial stability.

A Win for Workers, Employers, and Our Community

Greater Washington is home to hundreds of thousands of working age adults who lack a post-secondary credential, most of whom currently work in front-line or entry-level jobs in every sector. Despite our region’s return to historically low unemployment rates, stubborn pockets of un- and under-employment persist. Initiatives like the 965 Florida Avenue Job Training Grant Program will target investments to those who need assistance most.

The Workforce Collaborative has a long history of supporting job training grantmaking as a component of community benefit agreements for clients including Hines, Walmart, and Trammel Crow.

“Supporting local business and employers to meet their philanthropic goals is core to our mission at the Greater Washington Community Foundation,” notes Benton Murphy, Senior Director of Community Investment at The Community Foundation. “We are proud to partner with ANC 1B, MRP Realty, JBG Smith, and Ellis Development on this project that will directly impact the lives of local residents.”

More information on the Workforce Collaborative is available online at www.gwwdc.org.