Casey Foundation grant will help young adults develop skills, find meaningful jobs

Towards Employment, the non-profit organization that helps low-income people find jobs through training and job readiness programs, recently announced that Cleveland is one of five cities to receive part of a $6 million grant over a four year period from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The focus will be on helping young adults, age 18 to 29, develop employable skills, build careers and find jobs.

Towards Employment is the lead organization in a collaborative effort on the jobs front. Other organizations include Cuyahoga County; the local OhioMeansJobs and the local Fund for Our Economic Future. The program, which is just in the planning stages now, will be called Generation Work and will be a part of the pilot program TalentNEO

“In this planning stage, the collaborative will be working with many partners - providers, funders and employers - to help young adults find more opportunities to prepare for the workforce and find jobs,” explains Towards Employment executive director Jill Rizika. “There is high need in the community because the unemployment rate [among youth] is higher. We will work with employers to work with what young adults have to bring.”

Best practices that serve young adults’ needs, like mentoring, internships and access to on-the-job training, will be promoted, says Rizika, especially in industries that show demand for qualified employees. The collaborative will work together to help create more comprehensive programming in the community.

“Our collaborative will look at best practices and encourage broad application of them throughout the community,” Rizika says. “No one agency or system can deliver all of the aspects of the comprehensive model by itself  - something that for the young adult job seeker and the employer seems seamless.”

Towards Employment will receive $100,000 in the first, year, and the grant will increase by another $100,000 for three subsequent years. After the fourth year, the Casey Foundation will assess whether to renew the grant for another four years.

The other cities receiving part of the Casey Foundation grant are Hartford, Indianapolis, Philadelphia and Seattle.

For more information, on yong adult job training, contact the Youth Resource Center. For more information on Generation Work, contact Rizika.

Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: Karin Connelly Rice

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.