LANSING, Mich. – More than 1,000 structurally unemployed Michigan residents have been placed in full-time jobs through the state’s Community Ventures program since its launch a year ago, Gov. Rick Snyder announced today.
“The Community Ventures program is an innovative approach to one of our toughest challenges: Providing a path to employment for people who’ve never had a job or have been out of work for an extended period,” Snyder said. “Businesses and community groups have stepped forward to join this effort and together we’re finding ways for the structurally unemployed to get back in the workplace and build new lives for themselves.”
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. launched the Community Ventures program in October 2012. The pilot program connects pre-screened unemployed residents of targeted distressed communities in Flint, Saginaw, Pontiac and Detroit with companies willing to hire them and provide them opportunities for long-term sustainable employment.
Since the program’s launch, 63 employers have committed to the program. To date, 1,076 participants have been placed into employment through Community Ventures. The average retention rate for Community Ventures employees is 87 percent.
MEDC works with local community partners to provide extensive post-employment supportive services to Community Venture participants to help them overcome barriers to employment. These services include: job coaching, transportation, workforce readiness, child care, adult education and more. Additional resources are available depending on the needs of participants.
In Flint, the program has teamed up with St. Luke’s New Life Center, Diplomat Pharmacy and other employers to dramatically expand operations of a nonprofit organization that trains and employs structurally unemployed women to sew gowns and scrubs for various regional health care providers. The partnership, launched in February, has created 27 jobs, expects to add 75 more over the next two years.
Detroit resident Travis Butler participated in Community Ventures and successfully landed a job – his first ever – with Detroit Chassis. He receives support services such as transportation assistance and life skills through an on-site career coach.
“Working at Detroit Chassis has helped me gain confidence and raise my self-esteem,” Butler said. “I was very excited to get the help and I was excited to be able not just to get a job, but also to have the opportunity to earn work experience and get vocational skills I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. I really don’t know where I’d be without this job.”
Detroit Chassis CEO Michael Guthrie said the Community Ventures program allows his company to hire individuals who might not otherwise be considered for employment.
“We knew we could remain true to our vision by hiring people from the community and taking them as they were and working with them,” Guthrie said. “What Community Ventures does is help minimize the risk by doing the pre-assessment, screening, hiring, and employability skills training, and providing extraordinary support while our new recruits are transitioning into full employment.”
To view a video on Community Ventures featuring Detroit Chassis and Travis Butler, visit here: http://youtu.be/WIUnZd6bZPY
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