Two local nonprofits will use $380,000 in grants to help displaced workers prepare for
skilled positions in universities and technology
PITTSBURGH – The Citi Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) today announced new funding through the Bridges to Career Opportunities initiative (Bridges) to help connect unemployed and underemployed people in the Steel City to quality jobs in growth industries.
Two local nonprofits have been awarded $380,000 and technical support to provide services that help job seekers increase their incomes, improve their credit and raise their standards of living, Services include skills training and career development, as well as personal finance coaching, continuing education courses (to strengthen math and reading skills), and resources to help job seekers secure transportation, child care and housing arrangements, which can be impediments to career mobility.
The new funding is part of a $10 million three-year national effort by the Citi Foundation and LISC to expand the reach of Bridges and spur economic opportunity for thousands of families, including more than 300 in Pittsburgh. It is provided in concert with Neighborhood Allies, the local nonprofit that leads LISC’s efforts around financial opportunity and workforce development in Pittsburgh.
“This new investment will aid in providing Pittsburgh jobseekers with the resources and skills they need to enter into our region’s fastest growing job sectors,” said Mayor William Peduto. “By coupling financial coaching with workforce development and skill building, families are provided with vital support on their journey to financial well-being, and can ultimately gain access to long-term economic opportunity and success.”
The grantees both have long and successful track records of outreach in the communities they serve. They will use the Bridges funding to tailor their services to growing employment sectors and to reach a wider range of local residents.
- Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania will connect students in its high school equivalency classes with employment opportunities that demand moderate to high levels of digital competency by providing additional training and support after graduation. Goodwill will work to help prepare students with a range of opportunities to obtain digital skills, credentials and IT certificate training opportunities. Students will also work with Goodwill’s Career Service Center, which provides job readiness and job search assistance as well as direct connections to local employers.
- Oakland Planning and Development Corporation will expand its work with its University Talent Alliance partners, Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education and Innovate PGH among others, to connect individuals from disadvantaged neighborhoods near the Fifth/Forbes corridor with careers at local universities. OPDC’s combination of financial counseling, case management, and linkages with the employers will prepare candidates for success.
“The demands of today’s U.S. job market are playing out in different ways for American workers and we need to support those who are being negatively impacted by the forces that are shaping the modern economy,” said Ed Skyler, executive vice president for global public affairs at Citi and chair of the Citi Foundation. “By connecting programs that provide not only education and skills building, but support services for family and housing needs, we’re helping American workers who have been or are in danger of being displaced achieve success and contribute to their communities.”
The Pittsburgh groups are among 40 community-based nonprofits to be awarded funding through this program (a full listing of participating organizations can be found here.). Notably, more than half of the sites are located in Opportunity Zones, a federal incentive to increase investments in low-wealth communities as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
“Our partners have demonstrated that providing comprehensive financial education, employment services, and access to benefits is the right model to connect our most vulnerable populations to opportunity,” said Presley Gillespie, president of Neighborhood Allies. “The Bridges program is the next progression in our journey to increase the economic security and mobility of vulnerable families and workers.”
The majority of people who enter the Bridges program are either unemployed or working in minimum wage jobs and testing at a 6th-8th grade education level. After Bridges, more than three-quarters of participants move on to occupational skills training and 64 percent achieve industry-recognized credentials—opening doors to living wage jobs they would not otherwise be able to access and putting them on career pathways with the opportunity for ongoing advancement. In the last two years alone, more than 3,000 training participants across the country have been placed in jobs.
“The Citi Foundation’s investment enables OPDC to move forward with an equitable development strategy so that all members of our community can benefit from economic growth. We are thrilled to have been selected to strengthen this program in collaboration with many strong employer partners who share the same goal,” said Wanda Wilson, executive director of Oakland Planning and Development Corporation.
The Citi Foundation’s investment in Bridges builds on a decades-long relationship between the Foundation and LISC. It also signals an expansion of Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative beyond youth-focused career readiness to provide adult job seekers the full range of services needed for long-term employment.
About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.
With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $18.6 billion to build or rehab 376,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 63 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. To learn more, visit www.lisc.org.
About Neighborhood Allies
Our mission is to support the people, organizations and partnerships committed to creating and maintaining healthy neighborhoods. Our vision is a Pittsburgh with healthy neighborhoods that are thriving, resilient and livable for all. For more information, visit www.neighborhoodallies.org.
Sarah Dieleman Perry, 412-471-3727 ext. 212
Elizabeth Kelly, 212-559-2477