PHILADELPHIA, PA (May 2, 2012) – With 8.2% of people unemployed nationwide, jobs and economic security continue to be on the minds of most Americans. Community centers create strong programs to prepare hard-to-employ people for the workforce, with job training and comprehensive social services that help remove barriers to successful employment, improving lives, and building strong families and thriving communities.
Today, global professional services company ARAMARK announced it will provide a total of $100,000 in grants to three community centers for innovative job readiness programs and honor one community center executive for outstanding leadership as part of the second annual ARAMARK Building Community Innovation Awards.
“By supporting breakthrough programs that prepare hard-to-employ individuals for work, the ARAMARK Building Community Innovation Awards highlight and support best-in-class programs that are proven to put people to work and serve as best practice examples of new, creative solutions that help families succeed and revitalize neighborhoods,” says Bev Dribin, ARAMARK Vice President of Community Relations.
The Innovation Awards are part of ARAMARK Building Community, the company’s global philanthropic and volunteer commitment to strengthen community centers through grants, volunteer programs and other year-round support. The awards are hosted in partnership with United Neighborhood Centers of America (UNCA) and the Alliance for Children and Families (Alliance), which together form the largest network of independent, local community centers.
ARAMARK Building Community 2012 Innovation Awards for Workforce Readiness
The 2012 Innovation Awards for Workforce Readiness recognize three community centers’ solution-driven efforts in connecting community needs or targeting hard-to-employ populations with innovative workforce strategies that work. This includes training people for growing industries such as green facilities management, culinary/hospitality, and health care; responding to the specific needs of target populations with comprehensive training, wraparound services, and job placement; and creating center-run businesses that act as training incubators. The winners, each to receive $20,000 grants, are:
- Casa Central’s Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program (Chicago, IL) responds to the need for English-Spanish bilingual nurse aides to serve the increasing aging population in their community by training and placing low-income Hispanics into open, career-track jobs in the growing healthcare industry.
- East End Community Services’ Dayton Works Plus program (Dayton, OH), one of the largest, nonprofit residential deconstruction firms in the nation, creates green job training and jobs for hard-to-employ individuals by salvaging and selling materials from vacant and dilapidated homes in blighted Dayton neighborhoods; and
- Family Service Agency’s Community Re-Integration program (Phoenix, AZ) addresses the need to create more jobs, training opportunities and services for a targeted, high-risk group: approximately 90,000 Arizona adults on probation or parole. It helps underserved former inmates secure long-term jobs through job readiness training, intensive support services, and partnerships with employers.
Peter B. Goldberg ARAMARK Building Community Executive Leadership Award
The 2012 Peter B. Goldberg ARAMARK Building Community Executive Leadership Award winner is Randal Rucker, CEO of the 177-year-old Family Service of Greater Boston (FSGB) in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Rucker is a tireless and outspoken advocate for the power of community centers to help Boston’s most at-risk children and families build their lives. Rucker is widely respected for his more than 24 years of commitment to bringing together his team, public officials, the corporate world, and the private sector to drive change on the regional and national levels. Rucker has pioneered efforts that encourage responsible fatherhood and urban youth character, built programs to help children and strengthen families, and forged new paths in serving vulnerable communities. FSGB will receive a $40,000 grant for this award.
“I am truly honored and humbled to be the recipient of the 2012 Peter B. Goldberg ARAMARK Building Community Executive Leadership Award. This award is especially meaningful as it incorporates the legacy and vision of the extraordinary Peter Goldberg--a dynamic catalyst for continual excellence and innovation in the non-profit human service and community service field,” Rucker said of the award.
“I am a firm believer that the best and most enduring solutions to advancing civic, social and community development are realized in the transparent and trusting cross pollination of new ideas, partnerships and resources between non-profit community service providers, public systems, foundations, corporations and community participants,” he said.
The Peter B. Goldberg ARAMARK Building Community Executive Leadership Award honors the memory of Peter Goldberg, who served as president and CEO of the Alliance for Children and Families (Alliance) and CEO of United Neighborhood Community Centers of America (UNCA) until his death in August 2011.
“Passionate and committed leaders like Peter Goldberg and Randal Rucker inspire people at all levels. They are role models who dedicate their lives to helping our communities,” says Susan Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance and CEO of UNCA. “I can think of no better leader to honor Peter’s legacy than through Randal’s leadership and success.”
Nearly 70 Alliance and UNCA member organizations applied for the 2012 awards. Leadership award candidates were nominated through an open nomination process and an external panel of judges selected the winner. For more information on the program visit www.aramarkbuildingcommunity.com.
About ARAMARK Building Community and the ABC Innovation Awards
ARAMARK Building Community enriches the lives of families in need by supporting local community centers to help people of all generations learn, earn and thrive. ARAMARK recognizes the important role community centers play in addressing the comprehensive needs of individuals and families and is providing a range of resources including grants, volunteers and in-kind contributions. Since 2008, nearly 3 million individuals and families served by community centers in nearly 50 cities have been aided by the program through workforce training and job placement; nutrition education and awareness programs; access to food and clothing; and by having a safer place to learn and thrive. Since it launched in 2008, ARAMARK has invested more than $7 million in volunteer expertise, cash and in-kind resources to strengthen the capacity of local community centers in four countries. Visit ARAMARK for more information. Please join us on Facebook.
ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world. The company is recognized as one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" by the Ethisphere Institute, one of the "World's Most Admired Companies" by FORTUNE magazine and one of America's Largest Private Companies by both FORTUNE and Forbes magazines. ARAMARK seeks to responsibly address issues that matter to its clients, customers, employees and communities by focusing on employee advocacy, environmental stewardship, health and wellness, and community involvement. Headquartered in Philadelphia, ARAMARK has approximately 250,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries. Learn more at www.twitter.com/aramarknews.
About United Neighborhood Centers of America (UNCA) and Alliance for Children and Families
UNCA is a national advocate for social justice, progress, and community building that is inclusive, asset-based, and rooted in the rich tradition of the settlement house movement. UNCA’s members comprise a voluntary network of community-building institutions. UNCA builds neighborhoods with neighbors. Learn more at UNCA.org.
The Alliance for Children and Families is a nonprofit national membership association of private, nonprofit human service providers in the United States and Canada. The more than 350 members of the Alliance serve close to 3.4 million people each year. The Alliance is accredited by the Council on Accreditation. More information is available at alliance1.org.