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CWI Labs Awarded $375K Grant from NextFifty Initiative

June 12, 2020

Supporting Formerly Incarcerated Job Seekers

CWI Labs, and its local partner, Integrity Transformations Community Development Corporation (ITCDC), the community-based organization member for the Westside Works partnership, were selected by the NextFifty Initiative to receive a $375,000 grant. The grant award will support job training and placement for 265 formerly incarcerated job seekers age 50+ living in the Westside community of Atlanta.

Gainful employment reduces recidivism by 20% based on research from the Manhattan Institute. However, the unemployment rate among formerly incarcerated people is, on average, five times higher than the unemployment rate for the general U.S. population.

Older, formerly incarcerated people reentering the workforce post-COVID will face increased competition, fewer employers, and the need for skills that did not exist when many of them entered the justice system.

Gary A. Officer, Founder & CEO, CWI Labs
West side of Atlanta

Westside Works is a consortium of training partners that help equip Westside residents with hard and soft skills in order to become gainfully employed and begin a fruitful career. It was over five years ago that the Arthur Blank Family Foundation built upon the 20-year recruitment and job placement success of Integrity Transformations Community Development Corporation and created Westside Works, a long-term neighborhood program focused on creating employment opportunities and job training for residents of the Westside communities.

The vision of ITCDC is to empower the residents of our community through economic opportunity. Our alliance with CWI Labs and the strong investment from the NextFifty Initiative will allow us to expand our work with formerly incarcerated residents and support them as they seek work in a city that has changed dramatically.

Reverend Howard Beckham, CEO of Integrity CDC

In addition to job skill training, the CWI Labs/Integrity CDC partnership will bring together a coalition of partners to assist clients with a range of obstacles to employment including unstable housing or homelessness, poor physical health, mental health, and substance abuse problems, food insecurity, lack of transportation, and the stigma that incarceration carries.

This grant is the second partnership between CWI Labs and the NextFifty Initiative. The first grant supported job training and placement for older, formerly incarcerated individuals in Denver, Colorado, and led to seven out of every eight participating clients finding full-time employment.

About CWI Labs

CWI Labs is the innovation hub of the Center for Workforce Inclusion. As the largest and most experienced workforce development organization dedicated exclusively to the low-income 50+ workforce, the Center for Workforce Inclusion understands that experience in what has worked in the past is not enough to succeed in our rapidly changing world. CWI Labs was founded to partner with like-minded organizations and innovate new approaches, advance best practices, and tackle the labor force obstacles confronting traditionally underserved communities.

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Founded in 1995 and incorporated in 2003, Integrity Transformations Community Development Corporation (ITCDC) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that is committed to transforming English Avenue, Vine City, and other contiguous communities within the 30314 and 30318 zip codes. Through direct services, leveraging of resources, community organizing, and advocacy, we will build strong and healthy neighborhoods and stimulate holistic community development. Integrity promotes positive change and self-sufficiency to enhance the quality of life for the benefit of those we serve. Integrity works with their corporate partners to understand their workforce needs and trains individuals to fit into their organizations seamlessly.

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About Westside Works

Westside Works is a long-term neighborhood program focused on creating employment opportunities and job training for residents of the Westside community, including Vine City, English Avenue, Castleberry Hill, and other contiguous neighborhoods. Westside Works is a partnership among the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA), Integrity Community Development Corporation (Integrity CDC), Per Scholas, Invest Atlanta, Metro Atlanta YMCA, The Arthur M. Blank Foundation, and Atlanta Workforce Development Agency.

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