Community Ventures receives national economic development award

ATLANTA – The Community Ventures program, which helps people who are structurally unemployed get back to work, has received national recognition from the International Economic Development Council, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announced.

Calley and Saginaw Future, Inc. accepted the Gold Excellence in Economic Development award in the equity and inclusion category at the IEDC annual conference in Atlanta recently.

“Community Ventures creates second chances for people who likely thought they’d never be able to have a career,” Calley said. “This program is changing lives and improving communities across our state and we couldn’t be prouder of its success.”

Gov. Rick Snyder created Community Ventures in 2013. It is a public-private partnership providing support and resources to participants, including a success coach that helps from job placement through at least one year of employment. Saginaw Future applied for the economic development award on behalf of the Saginaw area, touting the impressive progress of the program where more than 2,000 participants have been placed in full-time jobs at 24 different businesses. Job sectors with new employees include manufacturing, construction, healthcare and customer service. The program is run by the Michigan Talent Investment Agency in partnership with the 16 Michigan Works! Agencies across the state.

“We’ve been a partner with the state of Michigan since the Governor launched the program,” said Saginaw Future President JoAnn Crary. “It has been tremendously successful in Saginaw, resulting in meaningful employment and a dramatic decrease in crime. The program has addressed key barriers to employment while providing access to wraparound services that ensure greater success.”

Participants who have kept their jobs for one year or more have been able to support themselves resulting in a savings of $2.2 million in public assistance benefits, according to a study done by the Michigan Office of Performance and Transformation. The program is credited with reducing violent crime and unemployment in the Saginaw area, where violent crime has been reduced by 74 percent since 2017 and unemployment has gone from 16 to 10.1 percent.

Community Ventures operates statewide and has helped more than 6,600 Michiganders secure employment opportunities since its creation. For more information visit mitalent.org/community-ventures.

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