New City of Flint partnership will help eliminate employment barriers for residents

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FLINT, Michigan — A new partnership will help Flint residents find jobs and also gain training to advance in their fields, thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Kellogg Foundation.

The City of Flint will administer the Workforce Development Program with the United Way of Genesee County administering the funds from the Kellogg Foundation. GST (Genesee, Shiawassee, Thumb) Michigan Works will provide success coaches to work with employees. The program also has early support from Mott Community College, Flint & Genesee Group (formerly chamber), Landaal Packaging, Northgate, The Genesee Group, MTA and others. The program was announced during a press conference at Flint City Hall on July 28.

“This program is a wonderful example of the impact that partnerships have on creating innovative solutions in the community,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley. “We are grateful that these organizations have all come together to provide Flint residents with training and support to further their careers and also connect Flint businesses with a talent pool that can fill many open positions in the city. This is a great opportunity to continue the city’s economic recovery and a win-win for residents and local businesses.”

All funds from the grant will directly support Flint residents working for employers located in Flint. The program helps residents obtain work materials or final training pieces they need to get jobs. The success coaches work with residents to help eliminate employment barriers, such as not having access transportation or childcare. With many schools and daycare facilities closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and wait lists long for facilities that are open, lack of childcare options has been one of the biggest barriers for people who want to re-enter the job market.

“This project is all about partnerships to help lift up working families around our shared values of providing mentorship, education, and basic needs support,” said James Gaskin, CEO of United Way.

GST Michigan Works has resources available to help lessen those barriers. Success coaches have helped people fulfill requirements to get a driver’s license, helped people find resources to support vehicle repairs, helped people facing eviction or with other housing issues, and helped residents work through utility issues.

“As we work to grow economic opportunity here in Michigan, this program will help ensure our workforce has the training and means to fill those positions and provide for their families,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation who participated in today’s press conference. “We are grateful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for its financial support.  We appreciate the work of our partners at the city of Flint and the companies stepping up to provide support for this effort as we work together to drive economic momentum right here in Flint.”

The program has already had five participants who received direct support in the amount of $5,000 worth of services. These services have included vehicle insurance and repair, driver’s training, and rental assistance to name a few. The MTA, Landaal Packaging, Genesee Packaging, and Barrette have all used this program to assist with hiring staff.

“The best solutions to challenges happen when multiple people and organizations are around the table together,” Neeley said. “I am proud of the support provided by so many Flint organizations to help our neighbors, and excited that this program will continue to grow and help more people.”

For information about the program and eligibility requirements, contact James Gaskin, United Way CEO at [email protected] or call 810-762-0856.

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