Aug 2, 2018 8:05:00 AM

$1.8 million grant will support individuals returning from prison

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded United Way of Central Iowa’s Central Iowa Works a $1.8 million grant to support individuals returning from prison to become employed and avoid re-offending.

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Jun 7, 2018 3:24:22 PM

Opportunities to grow retail industry workforce in central Iowa

United Way of Central Iowa’s Central Iowa Works convened a meeting with area retail and service industry employers and other community stakeholders on June 7, 2018, to share results from the retail analysis report – Preparing for Partnership: An Analysis of the Retail Industry in Central Iowa – and to begin discussing partnership opportunities to build a stronger workforce in these sectors.

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Jun 6, 2018 9:44:29 PM

10 facts you should know about poverty in central Iowa

One in three central Iowans doesn't earn enough to cover basic expenses without support. Many struggle to find enough food to eat or a place to sleep at night, while others manage by piecing together jobs and support. Yet, they are one flat tire or one emergency room visit away from crisis.

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Feb 15, 2018 4:20:33 PM

Why hire someone with a criminal record?

Nearly every individual in prison today will eventually return to our community. Most are eager to rebuild their lives and achieve long-term financial stability, but they need support in finding a new path. 

"If you don't do it for the people, do it for your family," says Brett Reyes, workforce advisor with Iowa Workforce Development, who helps those in prison build skills for future jobs. Supporting those who leave prison makes our communities safer by reducing the likelihood that they will commit another crime, and it makes our community stronger as more individuals move out of poverty. 

Yet there are many barriers someone convicted of a crime faces when they return to our community, including finding affordable housing, connecting with a supportive community, accessing transportation or regaining a driver's license. Iowa ranks among the worst—37th out of 51 states (including District of Columbia)—for the number of barriers in place for ex-offenders. 

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Jan 18, 2018 1:02:00 PM

Stephanie Chin named Community Impact Officer of Income

United Way of Central Iowa has hired Stephanie Chin as community impact officer – income. In this role, Stephanie will lead the community’s efforts to increase the percentage of central Iowans who are financially self-sufficient.

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Jan 10, 2018 4:03:31 PM

What is poverty in Des Moines and across the region?

The U.S. Census focuses on federal poverty at 100% - a point where 11.1% of central Iowans cannot afford food, housing, and other basic needs. Above that level, however, 22.9% of individuals in Warren, Dallas, and Polk Counties cannot afford everything they need to survive without assistance. Many families above the 100% federal poverty line are working; yet, they are one flat tire or one emergency room visit away from crisis.

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Nov 16, 2017 4:06:07 PM

3 Youth Career Readiness Programs in Des Moines

Youth in central Iowa, particularly those living in poverty, are much more likely to graduate high school and earn more money throughout their lives if they’re well prepared to succeed from the start. According to the Urban Institute, over a third of youth contribute over 20% of the total annual income of their households, and one tenth contribute over 50%. 

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Nov 13, 2017 10:14:00 AM

Donate food for families in need during the holidays

You can bring a box of hope to a family in need this holiday season.

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Oct 18, 2017 4:11:31 PM

UWCI Commends Future Ready Iowa Policy Recommendations

United Way of Central Iowa commends Future Ready Iowa Co-Chairs, Gov. Kim Reynolds and Dan Houston, and the Future Ready Iowa Alliance, for the final policy recommendations released yesterday. 

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Oct 11, 2017 8:03:00 AM

Central Iowa Works to advance retail careers with grant

The National Fund is awarding $900,000 in grants made possible through a grant from Walmart to the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative, Central Iowa Works, and SkillUp Washington. The grants will be given in $100,000 increments each year for three years to each organization to support their efforts to work with employers, educators, and community leaders to expand opportunities in retail and connected sectors. These programs will offer additional training to workers, building career pathways and incorporating business strategies that help employees advance into higher positions with an ultimate goal of making a positive impact on regional retail economies.

With more than 600,000 open positions and a current total employment of more than 48 million individuals, the retail and adjacent service sectors have a large footprint in our nation’s economy. Thirty-two percent of first jobs are in retail, and with low barriers to entry and potential for advancement, the National Fund sees the retail sector as a prime opportunity for individuals to learn critical skills and start a career.

“The retail industry is a major employer in the United States, and it is critical that the millions of retail jobs provide real opportunity for the employees and value for employers,” said Fred Dedrick, president and CEO of the National Fund. “This project is a tremendous opportunity to help employers improve the quality of their jobs as well as their competitiveness by helping workers advance on a career pathway. By partnering with communities, educators, and retailers, we can make retail an even better industry to start or grow a career.”

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