Employment and Training Department
The Fort Wayne Urban League provides workforce training and financial education to economically and educationally disadvantaged individuals. This includes high school dropouts, illiterate adults, the chronically impoverished, older workers, veterans and ex-offenders. Our project, the Urban League Empowerment Center, offers employment readiness workshops, and one-on- one job counseling. We enhance our computer skills training to better prepare low-income workers for 21st Century jobs. Our job placement services assists with financial education, introduction into a career ladder (trade, industrial and professional) and not just another job.
As our data illustrates, there is a significant need for adult education opportunities in high poverty communities. In Fort Wayne, 19.9% of all 18-24 year olds do not have a high school diploma, and in total 18,632 working-age adults do not have a high school diploma. In reality, these adults are increasingly unemployable. These rates are notably higher in low-income neighborhoods. Many of these individuals with limited education have low levels of literacy that prevent them from obtaining and retaining livable wage employment, and achieving economic self-sufficiency.
Ideally, under-skilled workers would be enrolled in an accredited advanced education program. However, for those with low levels of literacy, they need access to programs to prepare for advanced workplace and educational training. Workers will also not get these skills in the workforce, as most employers provide very limited remedial training. They expect workers to have these skills before being hired. To address this critical need, we provide a community based job training and remedial education program, job placement, and employment counseling.
We have realized successes toward this outcome in job placement and retention and home stability. Our employer relationships and connections assist us in support of our clients in their job search. In 2016 we expanded our employment service to include a deep drive into the skilled trades. We have brokered a partnership with the 17 skilled trades unions in Northeast Indiana to create a pre-apprentice program called BUILD (Building, Trades, Urban League, Indiana Plan, Local, Diversity). This new initiative allows us to match clients with limited formal education in career paths that lead to career opportunities that pay a livable wage. The BUILD Pre-Apprenticeship program has maintained a 100% completion rate with a 100% job placement rate (3 classes; 51 students)
As we worked to empower and stabilize individuals and families, in 2016-2017 we provided workshops for 139 people , gave job referrals to 422 clients and placed 110 clients on jobs with total salaries of 2.8 million.