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Building Futures: Connecting local workers to the green economy

July 16, 2014

Building Futures

Building Futures students, Site Coordinator & Instructors by S Casaro Dietert – Verona (center) 

The Community Foundation recently completed a three-year partnership with the Community Services Agency of the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO and Jobs for the Future. Made possible by a US Department of Labor Green Jobs Innovation Fund grant, the partnership yielded $875,000 in support for the Community Service Agency’s Building Futures job training program. Building Futures works to connect low-income Washington-area workers to education and training that will help them launch careers in the construction trades. Graduates leave the program armed with a collection of industry certifications including LEED 101, giving them a competitive edge in the jobs market.

Community Services Agency Executive Director Kathleen McKirchy notes, “Being part of this grant has been a tremendous experience for the staff and clients of the CSA Building Futures program.  Our clients have gained new confidence, skills, certifications and jobs, and many have turned their lives around with family-sustaining careers and newfound economic independence as a result of the training funded with this grant.  Our staff has benefited tremendously from the peer learning opportunities and sharing of best practices with our counterparts in other states under this grant, and our program and operations have improved as a result.  We are grateful to the US Department of Labor for funding this initiative, to Jobs for the Future for its national leadership and management of the grants, and to the Community Foundation, National Capital Region for providing oversight, support and lots of technical assistance during the life of this grant!”

To date, 165 workers participated in training with 161 graduating—a 97.5% success rate that speaks to the success of the program’s intensive case management and other supportive services. Further, 120 of these graduates have been placed into employment—a 75% placement rate—ranking Building Futures as one of the most successful programs across all of the Green Jobs Innovation Fund’s sites nationally. Additionally, more than 50 of these placements have been into registered apprenticeships that track workers into high-wage journeyman positions in the construction trades.

Part of the secret to Community Services Agency’s success has been its development of strong relationships with local employers. Recently, CSA partnered with the Center for Energy Workforce Development and Northern Virginia Community College to train a women-only cohort of workers for careers at local utilities.  CSA worked with clients like Verona, who successfully completed the program, and is pursuing a job at Washington Gas, one of CSA’s utility employer partners alongside PEPCO, NPL, and Utiliquest. 

“I got great insights into the companies, what they do, what they can do for me, and what I can do for them,” Verona stated.  “I’m looking to land a line locator or construction helper position- I need full-time stable employment and working for one of the utilities would really be great for me.”  Verona is currently progressing through a 6-month period of blue-collar work that will ultimately qualify her for a full-time position at Washington Gas alongside two other Building Futures participants who have already been hired.

While this grant has now come to a close, Building Futures successfully won several new grants, including funding through the recently awarded City Fund, CityCenterDC Opportunity Grants, and state funding in Maryland through the Maryland EARN program. We’d like to thank the Community Services Agency for its dedication to Washington-area workers over the term of this grant, and to congratulate them on the excellent outcomes they’ve achieved for local jobseekers and construction employers.

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First-of-its-Kind Study Reveals Acute Need for Affordable Housing in the Washington Region

July 15, 2014

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A research study released today shows critical gaps in affordable housing across a range of income levels in the Washington region. The study, Housing Security in the Washington Region, is the first of its kind to show critical gaps in affordable housing across a range of income levels. It is also the first study to comprehensively examine housing needs and how housing policies and programs are funded by public and philanthropic sectors in multiple jurisdictions. The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region commissioned the study with generous support from The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, and the study was researched and prepared by the Urban Institute and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

“Stable and affordable housing for people at all income levels is a goal that our region should be able to achieve. Without stable housing, it is difficult for people to obtain economic security, a quality education, good health and employment,” said Terri Lee Freeman, president of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. “We commissioned this study in order to quantify the needs for affordable housing and inform strategic investments by the philanthropic sector, as well as the public and private sectors. We are optimistic that the study can help leaders better address homelessness and housing issues in their communities and direct resources to those most in need. All people in our region deserve the chance to prosper as our region prospers.”

Click to read the executive summary

Click to read the full study

Click to read the news release

 

Join us: July 15 Special Briefing on New Study on Housing Security in the Washington Region

July 3, 2014

The Community Foundation For The National Capital Region Invites You To Join Us For The Release Of A Landmark New Study, Housing Security In The Washington Region

The Community Foundation, with generous support from The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, commissioned a study of housing needs and affordability in the Washington Region. The study, prepared by the Urban Institute and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, examines the entire continuum of housing, from the emergency shelter system to affordable homeownership opportunities; and provides a regional perspective on a challenge that crosses jurisdictional borders.

The event will include two sessions – a public briefing on the study, followed by a private briefing for funders, co-sponsored by The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014
1:00 PM  - 5:00 PM

 Session 1: Public Briefing on the study (open to the public)
1:00 – 3:00pm
An overview of the key findings and discussion

Session 2: Private briefing for Funders (open to private philanthropic funders and donors only)

3:15 – 5:00pm

Presentation and discussion of a companion guide to the study for funders, intended to inform the philanthropic sector’s efforts to address homelessness and increase housing security in the region

True Reformer Building, Lankford Auditorium
1200 U Street NW | Washington, DC 20009

CLICK TO RSVP & FOR MORE DETAILS

Regional Workforce Policy Roundup: Gains for Local Workers

July 2, 2014

To the disdain of many in the Washington region, the beginning of summer brings high temperatures and oppressive humidity, but local workforce development advocates are collectively breathing a sigh of relief as summer also brings an end to the high stress of budget season.

Now that Maryland, Virginia, and the District have concluded their budget wrangling for the year, workforce advocates are celebrating some high-profile wins. Grantees of the Community Foundation’s Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative have been working hard to shine light on critical issues by providing testimony at hearings and advocating for new or improved policies that will positively impact local workers. Here’s a roundup of some of the biggest workforce policy news:

The District of Columbia

Community Foundation grantees the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, DC Appleseed, and DC Jobs Council, and DC Alliance of Youth Advocates, amongst others, contributed to many recent wins, including:

Maryland

Community Foundation grantee Job Opportunities Task Force led and supported efforts in Maryland, including:

Virginia

Community Foundation grantee the Commonwealth Institute for Northern Virginia has led and supported efforts across Virginia during a difficult budget and legislative season, including:

  • Strengthening Virginia’s Earned Income Credit (EIC):The first bill signed by Governor Terry McAuliffe extended enhancements to the state’s EIC until 2017, helping 114,000 Virginians keep more of their earnings. These enhancements include increasing the income levels at which married couples are eligible for the credit and adding a new tier of benefits for families with 3 or more children (previously the credit topped off at 2 children).
  • Passing Work-Sharing Legislation: After three years of advocacy, bipartisan legislation was passed to implement a work-sharing program in Virginia. This program allows eligible businesses to reduce the hours of their employees instead of resorting to layoffs during an economic downturn. Affected employees are then able to draw partial unemployment benefits to help offset the wage losses from their reduced hours. Work-sharing allows business to keep their skilled workers and helps workers stay employed.
  • Funding to Expand Career Pathways: Workforce development advocates successfully worked with officials from the administration to include $1 million of new funding for regional sector strategies and career pathways programs in the Governor’s budget proposal. While this funding was ultimately eliminated by the General Assembly during budget negotiations, advocates are hopeful that the Governor’s support could yield additional opportunities in the future.

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The Honorable Wayne K. Curry

July 2, 2014

The Community Foundation for Prince George’s County and the entire Community Foundation for the National Capital Region family is very saddened to learn the news of the passing of The Honorable Wayne K. Curry, former County Prince George’s County Executive (1994-2002).  Mr. Curry was a former Community Foundation for Prince George’s County Board Member, Friend, Supporter, Donor, and Leader.   As the County’s first African American Executive, he transformed Prince George’s to be one of the wealthiest communities nationally, which played a key role in re-positioning the county as an important part of the Washington region’s growth. He successfully negotiated relocation of the Washington Redskins to Prince George’s County and the construction of FedEx Field. Numerous real estate development efforts that he championed helped spur economic development in the county including Bowie Town Center. He served two consecutive terms. He left office in 2002 with a budget surplus of more than $100 million. 

In 2011 the Michaels Companies, a global commercial real estate group where Curry was President, received the distinguished Civic Leadership Award given by the Community Foundation for Prince George’s to honor and celebrate companies, individuals, and organizations whose  effort help to make Prince George’s County a better place for others. In keeping with his spirit, we celebrate and honor his life, his immeasurable contributions to the County, region and nation.  We offer our prayers and condolences to his wife Sheila Curry, and family.  

New Report Highlights Struggles of Working Greater Washington

June 24, 2014

The Community Foundation’s Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative is proud to announce the release of a landmark new report that examines the rising challenges of income inequality through the Greater Washington Region.

Developed by an innovative partnership of local nonprofit advocacy organizations, including Collaborative grantees DC Fiscal Policy Institute and the Commonwealth Institute for Northern Virginia, Bursting the Bubble: The Challenges of Working and Living in the National Capital Region examines the lingering impact of the economic downturn in our region as well as the underlying factors that are contributing to our region’s uneven recovery and widening income inequality.

The Community Foundation focuses its investments in three strategic areas—safety net services, education, and workforce development—all with the goal of supporting individuals to achieve family economic security. This report, funded by the Workforce Collaborative and the Moriah Fund, and co-produced by the Maryland Center on Economic Policy, is the first to take a regional look at how issues ranging from housing affordability, unemployment, and education are collectively pushing more in our region into poverty.

Read more in the report, also featured today in the Washington Post.

Take Action 

Contribute to The Community Foundation’s workforce development efforts through a gift to The Community Foundation’s Fund for Greater Washington. 

 

New Report Outlines Challenges Faced by Latino Youth in Montgomery County

June 18, 2014

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There are over 25,000 young people across our region who are disconnected from either school or the labor market – and in some cases, both. Today, The Community Foundation and Identity, Inc. issued a study and report entitled Connecting Youth to Opportunity: How Latino Youth Perspectives Can Inform A Blueprint For Improving Opportunity In Montgomery County, MarylandLatinos and other Hispanics now represent nearly one-fifth of the population of the County. Clearly, this has implications for our schools, as Latinos/Hispanics make up more than one quarter of the total student body enrolled in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). This all-new research study is based on a survey of more than 900 Latino youth in Montgomery County, and identifies an array of key indicators that could serve to inform whether or not students are becoming disengaged in school, have the potential to drop out, or may fail to find a job once they leave school.

CLICK TO READ THE FULL REPORT 

By asking young people to tell us in their own words why they’re disconnected – rather than relying solely on the perspectives of the adults involved – we have created a new blueprint for improving opportunities for Latino youth, one that gets to the core of the challenges facing our young people and the solutions we must undertake to address them. To that end, the recommendations outlined in the report rely on committed collaboration across the public and private sectors. We are confident that together, we can move the needle for these young people.

DONATE NOW

The Connecting Youth to Opportunity Montgomery Fund is dedicated to addressing the challenges and opportunities outlined in this report. Every donation – large or small – helps us connect young people to opportunities. Join us.

 

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