• Stephanie Hernandez

Grant Writing Sample - 1

Rockwell Fund Grant Application - WRITING SAMPLE

Organization’s Name: Jobs Empowerment Organization

Mission Statement and Brief History: The following illustrates how the mission of Jobs Empowerment matches the Rockwell Fund's goal of supporting workforce development organizations in Houston. Jobs Empowerment mission includes pillars of service are the following: career coaching, occupational skills development, employment services, and financial empowerment. The ultimate goal of Job Empowerment’s programs to is help clients attain self-sustaining employment. In 1965, Jobs Empowerment was established to address minority veterans and civil rights issues, and began as a volunteer job bank. The programs have since expanded to include any person from a low-income community, such as job-seeking seniors, at-risk youth, and recently released inmates. According to 2015 Census data, 18% of Harris County residents live at or below the poverty line. These low-income residents face multiple challenges: being “opportunity poor”, and having limited access to educational advancement and professional development. Lack of transportation, stable housing, and criminal backgrounds also impact their ability to attain gainful employment. Jobs Empowerment’s goal is to help these people rise above the poverty line with their own abilities, by providing job training programs that align with the labor market. Training programs include administrative, banking, construction, and vocational skills. Jobs Empowerment also works directly with participating Houston businesses, by providing job screening, interviews, and employee matching with prospective employers. SER has made progress in aiding these communities: 4,832 youth, adults, and seniors were served with SER’s programs in 2015. With continued support, Jobs Empowerment can continue its outreach efforts to make a greater impact in low-income communities, and provide training and employment services to an increasing amount of clients every year.

Project/Program Title: Youth and Young Adult Programs

Requested Amount: $25,000

Project Description: Poverty places people on roads that some feel they have no choice but to follow, due to a lack of viable opportunities. Rolando, a former juvenile delinquent for five years of his life, joined Job Empowerment’s YouthBuild in 2016. Because of the doors opened and occupational skills learned in Youthbuild, he was able to work his way towards a new start in life, with a career in construction. Because of Jobs Empowerment, youth like Rolando can work their way out of life of crime and poverty. According to a Texas Education Agency 2015-2016 report, approximately 900,000 of Harris County students come from an economically disadvantaged household, with a 30% dropout rate for Houston ISD. Additionally, 2014 report from the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department states that 12,249 youth were referred to the juvenile justice system. To address these issues, Job Empowerment has programs with a youth focus, to lay the early foundations of educational completion and job training. The programs serve youth aged 16-24. YouthBuild and This Way Ahead provide youth with paid internships in construction, vocational skills training, and retail. These programs prepare our youth clients for a real-world job in their futures, while completing their GED if needed. For the 2015 Fiscal Year, approximately 1,497 youth clients were serviced with Job Empowerment’s job skills centered programs. By empowering youth early in their lives with professional development and work experience, and giving juveniles a second chance at life, Job Empowerment can help Houston’s low-income communities arise out of their situations.

Proposed Outcomes: Job Empowerment’s goal is to incrementally increase the number of youth clients served every year, for effective study of impact made among target communities. With an additional $25,000 funding, Job Empowerment would be able to place 10 more youth clients to participate in a 10-week paid internship program through participating Houston businesses. $25,000 would also pay for the books and equipment for 25 youth to participate in a vocational skills training course. The proposed use of these funds are two examples of how Job Empowerment has provided workforce development training, and with continued support, Job Empowerment can explore additional ways to continue providing these programs for at-risk and disadvantaged youth. We appreciate Rockwell Fund’s consideration of Job Empowerment for Progress Initiatives, and hope to implement support to further increase youth client participation in our workforce development programs.

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