Thousands of people across Indianapolis live in financial instability. Many are in low-paying jobs that prevent them from financial independence. As part of a national project, Bank of America will fund two local organizations’ workforce development programs for the next two years.
The funds are part of the Neighborhood Builders initiative, a project advancing economic mobility across the U.S.
Both 100 Black Men of Indianapolis and the Hawthorne Community Center will get $200,000.
Caleb Sutton is the director of the Hawthorne Community Center on the city’s near west side. He said the money will be used to secure resources and skills training for clients to reach their financial goals.
“One of the key factors that we have to focus on is increasing income and ultimately supporting people to position themselves in careers where they can make a living wage, have benefits, and are able to move towards financial stability,” Sutton said.
Many of Hawthorne’s programs work with people looking for in-demand jobs that pay higher wages. Some of this involves skilling-up clients to enter a high-paying workforce with opportunities for advancement, specifically health care and advanced manufacturing sectors.
“One thing we're continually trying to think about is, ‘how can we bring in partners who provide technical training that can directly lead to community members accessing living wage jobs? And and how can we make that accessible and easy?’” says Sutton.
Both groups expect to invest in community partnerships, certificate programs and skills training.
Youth development organization 100 Black Men of Indianapolis focuses on preparing high-school graduates for the workforce. In the past, the group has focused on getting students into college. Executive director William Durham said this money will allow the organization to serve additional students who might not want to continue with school.
“I believe that we were not servicing all of our students adequately with a focus on post secondary education,” Durham said. “So that we are able to adequately service all of those students and provide an avenue for everyone to be successful, we’re now focusing as well on workforce development.”
One hundred organizations in 50 communities across the country were selected for this year’s Neighborhood Builders grant. Bank of America will also provide the organizations with a year of leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader at the organization. The goal is to help nonprofit leaders address existing and upcoming challenges in underserved neighborhoods.