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$1 million job training initiative aims to get Detroiters into workforce

Detroit skyline with GM building

The city of Detroit is offering $1 million in grants to help lift residents out of poverty and into jobs. The initiative is a partnership between the city and the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation.

Grants are available to community organizations offering services like literacy education, vocational training, and support services to Detroit residents enrolled in SNAP -- the federal food assistance program.

Jeff Donofrio is executive director of workforce development for the city of Detroit. He says low-income job seekers in the city often face many challenges.

"A lot of times they need to complete high school. They need to get a vocational skill that would help them connect with a middle-skill job eventually," he said.

He also says there's a skills gap in both metro Detroit and within the city that leaves many jobs unfilled.

"We want to make sure that people have the basic skills, the soft skills, the vocational skills, and all the supports needed to connect with a good paying job that’s going to help them move out of poverty," Donofrio said.

The grants are funded in part by compliance fees from construction projects that don't meet requirements for the number of Detroiters hired to work on the projects, such as Little Caesars Arena.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will also match up to 50% of non-federal funding used to provide training and employment services as part of the initiative.

Organizations can apply for grants between $50,000 and $100,000. The deadline for grant proposals is November 27.

Paulette is a digital media reporter and producer for Michigan Public. She started as a newsroom intern at the station in 2014 and has taken on various roles in that time, including filling in as an on-air host.
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