Meeting a challenge one job at a time in Delaware

Aug 24, 2012

Meeting a Challenge One Job at a Time in Delaware

Like many states across the country, Delaware has been hard hit by the lingering global economic downturn. Those seeking employment have been especially impacted in a state where unemployment has gone from less than 4 percent in 2000 to more than 9 percent in 2010.

Connections Community Support Program’s Connect to Work (CTW) program began in 2009, in response to the state’s rising unemployment levels. The initiative is part of a comprehensive employment, case management, mentoring, and financial literacy program that helps people with employment barriers like lack of transportation or housing get the training and information that they need to start new lives. 

According to Connections President and CEO Catherine Devaney McKay, CTW also creates jobs through small businesses that offer janitorial, construction clean up, restaurant, and catering services. This on-the-job training can be life changing, giving those enrolled in the CTW program the experience they need to seek permanent and well-compensated employment, pay their bills, and put food on the table for their families. 

Bank of America first recognized Connections for its work in the community back in 2005 with the bank’s Neighborhood Builder award; to date, it has provided grants to the organization totaling $660,000.

"Thanks to Bank of America's financial support and engagement with Connections and the CTW program, we are able to make a significant difference in the lives of many men, women and families in Delaware," said McKay. "These are people who are most at risk during this economy, and with the bank's support we provide them the experience and training that they need to return to the workplace."

During 2010, CTW created 86 new jobs for people with prior barriers to employment through their social enterprises, and placed an addition 304 people in jobs that paid minimum wage or better. In the CTW offender reentry program, 74 percent have been placed in employment, compared to 40 percent of similar individuals nationally. During 2011, Connections created more than 100 jobs and placed 558 people in employment.

"We at Bank of America can think of no better partnership than one that transforms lives as Connections' Connect to Work program does," said April Birmingham, Senior Vice President, Community Relations Manager in Delaware for Bank of America. "We are proud to support this impactful initiative that creates jobs, teaches skills and builds self-esteem."

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