Workforce Development

Workforce Development


The Mott Foundation has long believed that employment is an important pathway out of poverty. To that end, the Foundation supports programs, initiatives and partnerships around the United States that seek to help low-income, low-skilled workers overcome their barriers to employment, enter the labor market and increase their earnings over time. Grantmaking includes funding for educational initiatives, particularly at the community college level, that help people gain the knowledge, skills and experience that employers are looking for.

Grantmaking is done primarily through Mott’s Expanding Economic Opportunity program area. Related funding through the Flint Area program targets the Foundation’s home community of Flint, Michigan.


Staff Notes: Proving the Power of Education and Career Support

By KYLE CALDWELL, Pathways Out of Poverty program director | June 10, 2014

Kyle Caldwell at Brownell Elementary School in Flint, MichiganKyle Caldwell at Brownell STEM Academy in Flint, Michigan 

Common sense tells us that a caring adult helping to develop opportunities for youth to learn and earn can help them succeed in life. Now the data affirms statistically, what we believe instinctively.

A recently published study by the Economic Mobility Corporation showed promising earnings gains for youth engaged in an innovative program called, Year Up. This national program brings together caring adults with youth through “sector partnerships” strategies long-championed by the Mott Foundation. Year Up’s model engages schools, service agencies and employers to build learning and earning opportunities for youth that can lead to good paying jobs.

With seven years of randomized controlled trial studies, the data shows that Year Up participants earned 32% ($13,000 over three years) greater wage earnings than those in the control group. Because Year Up matched students with support services and engaged major employers like Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase and CVS Caremark, they were able to create an education-to-career path for many youth who would normally be on a path to long-term unemployment or low-skill, low-wage careers.

With more than 6.5 million youth (16-24) in the United States disconnected from either a career or education opportunity, youth education and employment programs like Year Up will be even more important to the future of this country's workforce.


Spotlight: Focus on Hope in Detroit

About the Grantee

Focus: HOPE was founded in Detroit in 1968 to help battle such social ills as racism, poverty and injustice. Since then it has taken its place among the country’s most dynamic and effective anti-poverty and civil rights organizations.

Today, Focus: HOPE provides the Motor City’s low-income residents with job training in machining and information technology, and programs that help adult learners succeed in the classroom. The organization also operates one of the country’s largest food distribution centers, as well as a state-of-the-art child-care facility for working parents.

Since its founding, Focus: HOPE has received $17.77 million in grants from the Mott Foundation through its Pathways Out of Poverty program, which seeks to help people obtain the tools, including job training, to lift themselves out of poverty.

Click here for full story.


Jobs, education and hope are sewn into the fabric of Flint program

Crystal Riggs credits St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center with providing her with the educational and work opportunities she needed to turn her life around.

Crystal Riggs - St. Luke N.E.W. Life Enterprises

Video edited/produced by Duane M. Elling

“My whole life has changed — tremendously,” said Riggs, 50, a soft-spoken Flint woman who now works full-time at North End Women’s (N.E.W.) Life Enterprises, a scrub uniform and accessories business on the city’s northwest side.

Riggs is one of 14 women working as seamstresses at N.E.W. Life Enterprises, which operates out of the N.E.W. Life Center, a faith-based venture housed in a former elementary school and founded in 2002 by two Flint nuns.

In response to the great needs they encountered daily in their work in the community, Sister Carol Weber and Sister Judy Blake initiated literacy and adult education, emergency assistance, and computer and life-skills training for low- and no-income women caregivers. More recently, the program began serving men as well. The goal is to help clients secure financial independence.

In 2009, with Flint and much of the rest of nation mired in economic recession, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation provided $15,000 in support to help the center launch N.E.W. Life Enterprises. Business advisers say that it has the potential to become a $1-million operation within five years.

Click here for full story.


Additional Resources

Alternative Staffing Alliance Breaking Through Microenterprise Fund for Innovation, Effectiveness, Learning and Dissemination Center for Social Policy
National Network of Sector Partners National Skills Coalition  National Transitional Jobs Network Workforce Strategies Initiative