United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Receives $150K to Expand Workforce Development Capacity

Dallas is one of five cities selected to receive the two-year grant, which was awarded to United Way of Metropolitan Dallas by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. 

The United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ Pathways to Work program—a partnership of employers, funders, and training providers that helps individuals progress to middle-skill jobs—has been chosen for a grant program to train individuals and close talent gaps in the technology sector.

The two-year, $150,000 grant was awarded by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, a national network that aims to promote economic opportunity and prosperous communities. Dallas is one of five cities chosen to participate.

Committed to helping low-income individuals earn family-sustaining wages, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation provided the funding for the grants.

“In a full employment economy, now is the time to embrace new approaches in workforce development,” Fred Dedrick, president and CEO of the National Fund, said in a statement. “The support from the Weinberg Foundation will provide our regional collaboratives with the resources they need to scale current programs, as well as develop new ones to meet the needs of local employers and industries.”

The National Fund intends to support innovation in the recipient communities and help people achieve economic stability. 

Dallas’ recipient, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, is no stranger to investing in social good. They created the region’s first mentor-driven social innovation fund and, last month, awarded $225K to the city’s top social innovators.

Investing in IT

With the grant, Pathways to Work will first expand its Per Scholas IT-Ready Program. This program aims to make the tech industry more accessible by providing full-time, tuition-free IT training to low-income students. Through this program, Per Scholas also gain certifications that help them advance to well-paying roles in tech.

By increasing the capacity of this program, both the Dallas tech scene and community benefit.

“We’re creating more opportunities for secure jobs and productive futures for the people of North Texas,” Jessica Sampson, CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, said in a statement.

Keeping it local

Pathways to Work also plans to connect local training providers with small businesses in need of entry-level IT workers. With these efforts, they hope to not only fill open positions, but also increase the diversity and employability skills of frontline IT workers. 

In addition, they will pilot an innovation lab for local companies interested in using skill-based hiring methodologies to recruit the tech talent they need. This approach allows employers to vet candidates according to specific skill or competency requirements, making the interviewing process more transparent to all parties.

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