February 20, 2018

$302K Foundation grant aims to boost Hartford employment

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has awarded a three-year, $302,000 grant to the Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA) to curb unemployment in Hartford's South End.

SINA, a partnership between Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford Hospital and Trinity College, works with community stakeholders to restore economic vitality and improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods of south-central Hartford. The grant will support "Walk to Work," a program that matches South End residents with jobs available among SINA's partners.

The Walk to Work program's goal is to place 110 to 135 unemployed neighborhood residents in entry-level employment over three years. According to the latest data, the unemployment rate among those served by the "Walk to Work" program is 19 percent. Unemployment among youth ages 16-29 in those neighborhoods is estimated at 23 percent.

According to the Hartford Foundation, there are more than 100,000 jobs in the city of Hartford, yet Hartford residents hold fewer than 17 percent of those jobs. Despite a range of workforce preparedness programs in Hartford, high unemployment rates in south-central Hartford exceed both the national average and the city average, the nonprofit said.

Research done by SINA indicates that many jobs in the city's south end require only a high school diploma or less.

SINA Executive Director Melvyn Colon said the grant "provides vital support to a program we have spent years putting together…. The innovation that marks this program is to introduce a place-based approach to meeting institutional labor demand so that the hiring practices of the institutions promote community economic development."

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