INDIANAPOLIS – 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 residents in Indianapolis with quality jobs in growth industries.
Four local nonprofits have been awarded a total of $700,000 to provide services that help job seekers increase their incomes, improve their credit, and raise their standards of living. Services include occupational 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 child care and housing arrangements that can be impediments to employment.
The new funding is part of a $10 million national 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 700 workers in Indianapolis.
“There currently exists a skills gap in Marion County, and quite simply, we need more qualified workers to fill the high-demand jobs of the 21st century,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “I applaud this partnership between the Citi Foundation and LISC and local nonprofits, which not only seeks to fill this void in our workforce, but also provides hundreds of Indianapolis residents with the necessary training and resources to achieve a better life by securing and keeping meaningful employment.”
The Indy grantees all have long and successful track records of connecting neighborhood residents to opportunity, and each has a strong Center for Working Families program under the leadership of the United Way of Central Indiana. The Bridges program builds upon that model by incorporating adult education and industry-specific training.
Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC)
EMCC will enhance its job and employment services for residents by adding opportunities to achieve advanced credentials in construction and culinary services, as well as explore entrepreneurship through a micro-enterprise model.
John H. Boner Neighborhood Center (JBNC)
Serving the people of the Near Eastside, the JBNC is adding an innovative career pathway in maintenance work. Participants can earn a certificate as an apartment maintenance technician focused on electrical, HVAC, plumbing and interior/exterior building maintenance.
Southeast Community Services
Southeast Community Services will add a Bridges program focused on in-demand sectors such as transportation, distribution and logistics, manufacturing and construction trades.
Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center
Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center will add higher-skilled pathways to its curriculum in metalworking, control systems technology, and LEAN certifications.
“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.”
According to the Equality of Opportunity Project, Indianapolis ranks 47 out of 50 top cities in economic mobility—a measure of whether Indianapolis residents are able to move out of poverty in their lifetime.
“This partnership between the Citi Foundation, LISC, and our neighborhood partners will directly impact economic mobility in Indianapolis neighborhoods,” said Tedd Grain, executive director of LISC Indianapolis. “By blending industry training and financial coaching, Indianapolis residents can take the reins of their economic and professional lives. This grant opportunity builds on the exciting, collaborative momentum for inclusive growth in our city, enabling residents to take advantage of the significant economic development occurring in Indianapolis.”
“Right now, one in three central Indiana families is financially unstable,” said Ann D. Murtlow, president and CEO of United Way of Central Indiana. “We’re pleased that this new funding for the Bridges program promises to build on the success of the United Way of Central Indiana sponsored Center for Working Families model by strengthening services in education, industry-specific training, and financial coaching for adults. Now more than ever, it takes partnerships like these in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors to help reduce the number of unstable households and improve the lives of our neighbors in need.”
The Indianapolis 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. All four of the Indianapolis sites are located in or adjacent to Opportunity Zones.
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 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 or www.liscindianapolis.org
Megan Bulla, 317-671-5055
Elizabeth Kelly, 212-559-2477