EMERGE LEAD AGENCY IN NEW COLLABORATION FOCUSED ON RACIAL AND ECONOMIC DISPARITIES
The Unity Opportunity Collaborative (UOC) is a unique partnership of five key Minneapolis community-based institutions that will work together to overcome the appalling economic disparities that African Americans and African immigrants face. Recognizing that existing programs and strategies don’t work for many of our neighbors, the Unity Opportunity Collaborative is committed to the development and deployment of new and innovative approaches to education and workforce development that will overcome the specific barriers to success with which many people of African descent are confronted.
Partnering with Governor Dayton, the Minnesota state legislature appropriated $4.25 million for use by the UOC to address economic disparities in key Minneapolis neighborhoods. The appropriation is a part of $37 million in Equity Appropriations approved by the Legislature, seeking to address racial and economic disparities in Minnesota communities.
UOC is comprised of five agencies, including EMERGE, Minneapolis Urban League, Sabathani Community Center, Stairstep Foundation and Minneapolis Public Schools. Each of the partners in the Unity Opportunity Collaborative has a long history of commitment to the community, as well as significant experience delivering programs that help people succeed. EMERGE is the lead grant recipient on behalf of the partnership responsible for fiscal management and reporting on behalf of the collaborative. Minneapolis Public Schools Adult Basic Education program will offer customized GED preparation and other customized adult learning experiences.
The UOC will offer services at six different sites in north and south Minneapolis, including the Cedar Riverside neighborhood. The $4.25 million will fund education and career training that will help prepare African Americans and Africans to achieve success in the work place and assist them as they transition into the workforce. To this end, UOC has identified six key components to a comprehensive plan:
1. GED Preparation
Working in partnership with Adult Basic Education through the Minneapolis Public Schools, GED preparation will be offered at EMERGE, the Minneapolis Urban League, and Sabathani Community Center.
2. Employment Readiness Training
Participants will have the opportunity to increase their employability through readiness training that focuses on the skills and competencies needed to find and retain a good job. These services will be offered by EMERGE, the Minneapolis Urban League, and Sabathani Community Center.
3. Career Training
UOC will help participants prepare for a career by linking them to one of the many career training opportunities in the Twin Cities area, and then provide the support they need to be successful. In addition, UOC partners will offer their own career training in a number of exciting fields.
4. Job Placement and Retention Support
UOC will offer job placement services to help job seekers access the current job market and align them with the education, experience, and training needed to be successful in the work force.
5. Supported Work Experience for Adults with Significant Obstacles to Work
Recognizing that some individuals face significant barriers to work that would make it difficult to place them in traditional work settings, UOC will provide supported work environments that give participants the opportunity to experience success.
6. Outreach and Community Support
UOC will connect with a powerful network of community organizations and faith-based partners to engage and support participants to locate appropriate resources.
The overall goal of the Unity Opportunity Collaborative will be to advance the number of people who enter GED and adult diploma classes, and obtaining their diplomas and to increase the number of people achieving employment readiness and career credentials and ultimately attaining living wage jobs.
UOC services are currently getting underway and are planned throughout 2016 and the entirety of 2017.