EMERGE was established as a division of Pillsbury United Communities in 1995, spinning off as an independent entity in 2007. In 2015, we opened the EMERGE Career and Technology Center in North Minneapolis and merged with non-profit partner Momentum Enterprises, bringing three additional social enterprise businesses into our portfolio. In March 2017, we opened Cedar-Riverside Opportunity Center in partnership with the city, county, local colleges, and other partners. Today we operate a broad spectrum of workforce development and social enterprise businesses in the Twin Cities with the intertwined goals of better jobs, better lives, and better communities.  

In 2017, EMERGE served 2,979 people: 662 gained jobs, 305 participated in career training, 499 people accessed financial education and services, and 162 formerly homeless individuals and families received services to directly support them in gaining or maintain housing. We offer adult and youth workforce services, combined with a range of other services, along a continuum from basic job search coaching up to long-term intensive career training, tailored to the specific needs of the participant. In 2017, 94% of those we served identified as people of color with the largest groups served African American (55%) and African, primarily Somali (25%). Our participants are 84% low-income with 76% under the poverty line. About 35% are overcoming a criminal background; 26% have no high school diploma/GED; 21% speak a primary language other than English, and 13% indicate immigrant/refugee status.

Awards and Recognition

  • 2018 Preservation of Minnesota Award for renovation of former North Branch Library into the EMERGE Career & Technology Center
  • 2016 Bush Prize for Community Innovation
  • 2016 Northwest Area Foundation Social Enterprises Cohort
  • 2015 Accenture US Corporate Citizenship Social Change Award
  • 2014 Bank of America Neighborhood Builder
  • 2014 Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce Non-Profit of the Year
  • 2014 City of Minneapolis Youth Provider of the Year