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BUILDING CAREERS. EMPOWERING LIVES. ENDING POVERTY.

RISING UP AN UPDATE FROM TWIN CITIES R!SE

WINTER 2016 1

TWIN CITIES RISE NEWSLETTER | WINTER 2016


CONTINUING PARTNERSHIPS AND ADDRESSING DISPARITIES A N O T E F ROM OUR CEO On October 29th, the new Light Rail Technician Training program kicked off with over 300 applicants. Through this partnership, Twin Cities R!SE provides our signature Personal Empowerment training and unmatched oneon-one job coaching to participants, while Metro Transit provides the specific skills and internship opportunities needed for the job. Upon completion of the program, trainees will begin their career earning over $25 per hour.

Dear TCR Friends and Supporters, With your support Twin Cities R!SE (TCR) served over 1,400 people last year across all programming, including 328 individuals with long-term employment training. TCR participants not only earned job placements, but reached record job retention rates, with 84 percent of program graduates still employed one-year following program completion. The success of TCR was recognized by the State of Minnesota, and in a continuation of our partnership, Governor Dayton signed a bill that invests substantially in reducing employment disparities in Minnesota. The bill provides Twin Cities R!SE with $1.2 million in funding for the 2017 fiscal year. This funding was a part of the $35 million supplemental state budget to improve economic disparities in Minnesota. $400,000 of this grant amount has been directed to renew our highly successful pilot program with Metro Transit. The innovative partnership will build upon our current and first-of-its-kind Metro Transit Technician program that trains individuals, primarily of color and from low income backgrounds, for careers as diesel mechanics.

As you bustle along the holiday gift giving season and this special time of year that in which we are reflecting on all that we have to be thankful for, please don’t forget Twin Cities R!SE.

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The remaining $800,000 is designated for the continuation of TCR’s pioneering “pay-for-performance” grant with the State of Minnesota. In 1997 Twin Cities R!SE became the first organization to be paid by the State based on the results and measurable outcomes we achieve. This funding model requires TCR participants to be placed into living-wage employment with an income increase of at least $10,000 annually prior to any state funds being dispersed. TCR is eligible for an additional grant when program graduates remain in their jobs for at least one year. In 2018 and beyond, the State has committed up to $600,000 a year for the continuation of TCR’s payfor-performance grant. In signing the bill the Governor stated this bill “will improve economic opportunities for Minnesotans of color and ensure our economy works for everyone.” We are excited to make an even more significant impact in the state of Minnesota and in the lives of TCR participants with this focused and outcome based funding package. Sincerely,

Tom Streitz, President and CEO

With Amazon Smile, a .05 percent of your shopping order placed through smile.amazon.com will be donated to Twin Cities R!SE. To participate, simply log on to smile.amazon.com and select your Twin Cities R!SE as your charitable organization!

TWIN CITIES RISE NEWSLETTER | WINTER 2016

AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service. You shop and Amazon gives!


A YEAR OF SERVICE

AmeriCorps VISTA members live and serve in some of our nation’s poorest urban and rural areas. With passion, commitment, and hard work, they create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. Each VISTA member makes a yearlong, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency. In return for their service, AmeriCorps VISTA members receive a modest living allowance and health benefits during their service.

Twin Cities R!SE AmeriCorps VISTA Devan Steward took a moment to reflect on his year of service. I joined AmeriCorps with the goal of immersing myself in the nonprofit world for a whole year. I’d been involved with nonprofits before, but never long enough to know if it was really what I wanted to do. Through joining AmeriCorps, I wanted to gain experience working with individuals dedicated to making the Twin Cities a better place for those facing the most adversity. Within a couple of weeks working at Twin Cities R!SE, I knew I had found such a place. Joining TCR, I got to see the behindthe scenes work that keeps a nonprofit functioning. In the process of understanding the everyday operations,

It can be easy to forget that each data point is a real person. Being able to spend time with the people we helped brought a greater sense of meaning to my work.

I was able to understand where I can fit in to help an organization thrive. While I could list a lot of things that made my year at TCR a great learning experience, the most important element was the chance to meet many of the people TCR serves on a personal level. Whether it was through enrolling in a Personal Empowerment course or simply making small talk while filling in at the front desk, my regular interactions with participants made me never forget that the individuals we serve are real people living full, complicated lives. As someone who has spent the past few years sifting through numbers and analyzing statistics, it can be easy to forget that each data point is a real person. However, during my time at TCR that never happened. In fact, being able to spend time with the people we helped brought a greater sense of meaning to my work. It was this sense of meaning that will continue to drive my work in the nonprofit world. I am grateful for the chance to serve at TCR. Devan is currently pursuing a Master’s degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and has decided to continue on with TCR on a parttime basis past his service year as an AmeriCorps Vista.

TWIN CITIES RISE NEWSLETTER | WINTER 2016

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PUSHED TO SUCCEED!

Just released from prison a few months before coming to Twin Cites R!SE, Dylan had never had a job, had never even looked for a job, and had no computer skills. A friend that he was staying with told him that Twin Cities R!SE had helped him, and that he should check it out.

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At Twin Cities R!SE, Dylan completed three 10 week sessions of training while looking for employment and for the first time in his life, learning was enjoyable. His TCR computing instructor, Suzanne, made each class fun and he was happy to return each day. Dylan also found great value in his Career Coach, Ralph, who pushed him to step outside of his comfort zone in order to reach his goals. “I’ve never had a coach before, only probation officers, and they had only pushed me back into jail.” In October, Dylan became a TCR graduate by celebrating 1 year on his job. During that year, Dylan has been promoted twice, and is now an Assistant Manager. He works over 40

TWIN CITIES RISE NEWSLETTER | WINTER 2016

hours a week and has benefits. “With no job history, and a criminal record, I got turned down time after time. This is the longest I’ve been out of prison.” “Personal Empowerment classes restored my confidence. It taught me to respect the humanity of a person, even when they are yelling at me. I tell myself that I am more lovable and important than they are treating me at this moment, and I am able to stay calm.”


REENTRY CONNECT IS WORKING “Being incarcerated for long periods of time decreases the likelihood of gaining work experience and self-sufficiency.” -Reentry Connect Director, Shereese Turner Reentry Connect, a program of Twin Cities R!SE, was designed to improve the long-term educational and workforce outcomes of men and women who have been previously incarcerated. With Reentry Connect Twin Cities R!SE provides a high level of support to participants, by beginning to work with them 60-90 days prior to their release

Success happens when an individual realizes that he/she has value and that their place in society is important.

from prison. Reentry Connect case managers help them develop an Individual Release Plan and identify the barriers that they will have to overcome upon release to ensure success in the community. Once released, our case managers help put action behind the goals identified, meeting with program participants a few times a week for coaching sessions. They also provide

As this is realized, an individual becomes motivated and most importantly ‘consistent’ with their dedication to live a better life as they utilize the new tools and the resources that we provide for them.

Personal Empowerment training and connect them

– Reentry Connect Case Manager, Jeff Williams

twincitiesrise.org/reentryconnect

with the resources necessary to transition back into the community while securing employment and housing. One of the ways that the success of Reentry Connect has been shown is in the number of participants that return to prison. Reentry Connect participants have a 13% one year recidivism rate, compared to the national average of 43%. Take a closer look at the lives transformed by Reentry Connect at:

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1301 Bryant Ave N Minneapolis, MN 55411 Phone 612-338-0295 Fax 612-338-0191

1600 University Avenue, #8 St. Paul, MN 55104 Phone 651-603-8520 Fax 651-603-1935 www.twincitiesrise.org

YOU M AKE T RA NS F OR MAT I ON POSSI BL E.

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TWIN CITIES RISE NEWSLETTER | WINTER 2016


Twin Cities R!SE Winter 2016 Newsletter