LISC Receives $11.3 Million to Expand Job Skills Training

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation has announced an $11.3 million grant from the Social Innovation Fund as part of a new effort to help jobless Americans upgrade their reading and math skills.

The grant from SIF, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, will enable LISC to expand its Bridges to Career Opportunities program, which offers job training and financial coaching to low-income people whose skills deficit has helped keep them in poverty. The program teaches "core" skills such as math, reading, and English as a second language — along with "softer skills" such as interviewing, teamwork, and conflict resolution contextualized to specific industries or sectors of the economy.

LISC piloted the program in Chicago and Indianapolis and has since expanded it to Houston, the Twin Cities, San Diego, and Detroit. The latest grant from SIF will be used to expand the program into at least ten additional cities and regions.

"One of the biggest challenges facing people living in poverty who are struggling to find employment is a lack of education and skills — and that creates a mismatch with available jobs," said Kevin Jordan, LISC senior vice president of national programs. "Even among those with a high school education, many still lack skills beyond the level of middle school. We've found a way to help close this gap — and we are seeing it bear fruit, helping people to gain knowledge and confidence and find better-paying jobs."