Continues to pave the path to success for individuals in Detroit
A $15,000 grant from the PNC Foundation will fund our Fast Track, formerly known as Ready, Set, GO!, an essential component to our Workforce Development & Education programs. PNC has been a longtime supporter of our Fast Track program, paving the path to success for incoming students. Fast Track is a full-time, nine-week program designed to help individuals overcome barriers to academic and employment success through work readiness, literacy skills, academic enrichment and related training.
We welcome adults from low-income backgrounds, a majority of which are ethnic minorities, who qualify as low-income to participate in our Workforce Development & Education programs. The population that we serve is almost entirely historically underserved and underrepresented, with close to 50% of its residence living at or below the poverty line, and 75% of children living in single parent homes. Our goal for Fast Track, and our other Workforce Development and Education programs, are designed to pull individuals out of the cycle of poverty and give them the foundation they need to succeed in life and a career.
"It's not just about delivering a class or providing skills," said Rashida Thomas, Workforce Development & Education Director, Focus: HOPE. "It's really about changing the mentality of a population of people who have been left behind."
Our Workforce Development & Education programs are developed as a pipeline of comprehensive educational programs that work with students regardless of education level and give them the foundation they need to succeed. Since 1981, we have trained more than 12,000 men and women with industry relevant skills to fill the needs of companies in metro Detroit, while creating pathways for individuals to pursue stackable credentials, associate degrees and bachelor degrees in engineering and IT.
"I first came to Focus: HOPE and thought it would just be a stepping stone to where I wanted to be," said Frank Howard, Workforce Development & Education graduate, Focus: HOPE. "When I was in the program, I learned that Focus: HOPE is so much more. They teach you things that are invaluable and are now like a family to me."
Thanks to the longtime support of the PNC Foundation, our Fast Track program serves as the prerequisite to our various career training programs. Student's course work in Fast Track stresses academics, time management, teamwork, workplace ethics, conflict resolution and more. Students in the program learn how to take efficient notes, set personal goals, and communicate professionally while having a positive attitude. They also learn how to prepare a resume and participate in mock interviews that set them up for success in the real world.
Students who complete Fast Track will be prepared to take advantage of post-secondary education opportunities and have the pre-requisite needed to apply to our vocational and technical programs. Students are also able to successfully secure entry-level employment in an array of fields, something that they previously struggled with prior to Fast Track.
We are committed to building Detroit's new skilled workforce and providing pathways to long term careers for those who have been marginalized in our community. Our city's continued growth will depend on the quality of its workforce, expansion of supply of middle-skill workers to fill open jobs, attracting new business and providing opportunities for those disadvantaged. This is why we, Focus: HOPE can lead systematic, transformational change and break the cycle of poverty in our community.
"There's no greater way to eliminate racism and poverty that to see that people have education, skills, jobs and opportunities in life," said Eleanor Josaitis, Co-Founder, Focus: HOPE.