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Kresge Foundation Selects the Center for Urban Families and Baltimore City Community College to participate in BOOST initiative

Author: Marilyn Aklin

January 15, 2020

The Kresge Foundation has awarded a $495,000 grant to support a partnership between the Center for Urban Families (CFUF) and Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) to connect 100 individuals with low incomes to critical human services supports and educational pathways to advance social and economic mobility. This is one of six partnerships between community colleges and human services nonprofits nationwide selected to participate in Kresge’s $3.7 million Boosting Opportunities for Social and Economic Mobility for Families (BOOST) initiative.

Through BOOST, Kresge aims to provide students with critical human service supports to help them successfully juggle work, family and school. The initiative is also designed to connect individuals served by human services nonprofits with educational opportunities that lead to careers that help them support their families.

“By bringing human services nonprofits that aspire to use strong two-generation, whole family approaches together with community colleges, we can eliminate the barriers that limit access to higher education and create career pathways that move families up the social and economic ladder,” Raquel Hatter, Kresge Human Services Program managing director, said.

In partnership since 1999, CFUF and BCCC will offer a variety of human services supports and educational opportunities to BOOST Baltimore participants. CFUF will provide soft skills and life skills training, job placement and job retention support, and intensive case management and wrap-around services.  As students prepare for entry and advancement in their chosen career pathway, BCCC will provide academic support and workforce training that incorporates industry certifications, licensure and other credentials of value.

Joe Jones, CFUF Founder/President and CEO, captures the potential of this opportunity when he says, “CFUF is about dismantling poverty. CFUF and BCCC have been working together for years to help Baltimore residents, especially fathers, secure the necessary skills, training, certification, and degrees to position themselves for financial success and to help their families. We are ecstatic about this opportunity because this allows us to take our partnership to the next level. This is a game changer.”

Upon completion of workforce training programs, students earn college credit toward their certificate and degree program at BCCC while also increasing their earning potential. Business and industry partners will offer additional support for student advancement by providing internships and/or clinical courses as a part of each program. Working together, BCCC and CFUF are well-positioned to address the needs of each learner on their pathway to college and career success.

BCCC President Debra L. McCurdy, PhD, says the BOOST initiative meets two of the College’s top priorities: workforce development and strengthening partnerships. “BCCC is pleased to participate in an initiative that thoroughly addresses the needs of students and equips them with the tools, resources and skills that are essential for success,” McCurdy said. “This is an incredible opportunity for Baltimore residents to pursue a promising career pathway, allowing them to improve their lives and those of their families. We are grateful to the Kresge Foundation for this opportunity and excited to take our partnership with CFUF to an even higher level.”

In addition to grant funding, BOOST grantees and partners will convene annually, participate in a cross-site evaluation and receive technical assistance from Jobs for the Future, a national nonprofit organization that will serve as the foundation’s management and learning partner. For more information about BOOST, visit www.Kresge.org.