Robots and robotics are everywhere. Just in the last few years, it's become hard to not hear the phrase AI (Artificial Intelligence) at least a few times a day. In fact, there's a website that assesses the likelihood that a robot will take your job. While that's kind of a funny thing to think about, it's really a scary proposition.
Most families that come to CSL have earned income through work. However, the jobs they have are not sufficient to sustain a family, let alone using work as a tool to build wealth and assets. CSL is very committed to our work around Income Supports (Basic Needs), but that work, while vital, is a temporary fix to the pains of poverty. It is only through improved work situations and career development that families can improve their hopes for the future.
In 2016, CSL, as part of our partnership with Greater Kansas City LISC, launched our first Bridges to Career Opportunities (BCO) cohort. BCO is a national model that meets under-trained workers where they are at, and creates a bridge to a viable career opportunity. Some of the tenets of the BCO model are: 1) obtaining an IRC - an Industry Recognized Credential; 2) obtaining that IRC in an in-demand career sector; 3) obtaining an IRC that offers the chance to add additional, stackable certifications; 4) being placed in a job that offers benefits and livable wages (we target total compensation at $17/hour or higher).
I'm proud to announce that last month we graduated our 50th Certified Nursing Assistant since we launched the BCO model! Through grants and partnerships, we graduated all 50 at no cost to the participant. Over the next five years, these 50 graduates will earn $4,250,000 more in their new jobs than had they stayed in their existing jobs. The majority of our graduates now have full benefits (insurance and retirement) for the first time, and CSL continues to support our graduates with ongoing career navigation and financial coaching. The pictures below are of our most recent graduates.
So, where do we go from here?
In early 2019, CSL found out we are part of a national $10,000,000 grant from the Citi Foundation that aims to train up 10,000 skilled workers across America. The gift is facilitated by our BCO partner, LISC. CSL is the only LISC affiliate in Kansas City to be part of the Citi grant. Read more about that national award...
On top of the Citi grant, we are also in a multi-year award with the Union Pacific Foundation. Combined with the Citi grant, this will allow us to graduate 70 newly-trained workers with IRCs in in-demand career sectors. This is our way of lifting families from poverty wage jobs to careers that can help families escape poverty, and move towards the middle class. Later this month, a new welding cohort will start, and in April, our sixth CNA cohort kicks off.
Additionally, CSL is continuing to increase our commitment towards our neighbors with special needs. Our work with State of Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation provides customized employment support for those who need extra coaching to enter the job market. In 2018, we helped 82 of our neighbors, that have some type of special need, navigate the world of employment. Of the 82, we placed 59 into a job. For some, it's their first-ever job.
CSL is doubling down on workforce development by expending more resources to connect our neighbors to better career opportunities. Finding jobs has never been easy, but now we must layer in the fact that robotics is going to change the face of entry-level jobs in the future. We must have systems in place to support helping families make the leap into a new sector. This work is exciting, and it benefits all people. It's your support that makes this happen, so thanks for giving generously to drive this innovative work.