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Two pilot programs launched to help families across the U.S. increase workforce mobility and achieve economic security

Contact: Kathy Reincke  

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) today announced a total investment of $11.6 million to 14 community-based workforce organizations that have received grants as part of two new pilot study programs to increase employment, workforce mobility and family economic security across the country. The two programs, Supporting Transitions to Employment for Parents (STEPS) and Mobility and Opportunity for Valuable Employment by Upskilling Parents (MOVE UP), are leading on-the-ground efforts to ensure that more low-income parents have the skills and opportunities to move onto and up the ladder of economic success.

“All parents deserve the opportunities and training to obtain good jobs, advance in their careers and provide financially secure homes for their children,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of WKKF. “We believe working with these 14 organizations and their supporting partners in the community will provide greater access to safe, quality jobs and the skills and training to help parents earn a family-sustaining income and increase the opportunities for their children to succeed in school and in life.”

Quality, affordable and flexible child care is one of the critical support services that parents need in order to succeed at work. The seven STEPS grantees include workforce development organizations that are leading and formally partnering with early childhood education providers, identifying unemployed mothers who are seeking jobs and already have their children enrolled in early child care, pre-K programs or elementary schools. Designed to change conditions for both parents and their children, this effort provides unemployed mothers with access to short-term, demand-driven, sector-based workforce training, education and support that can lead to employment. 

“United Way of Greater Cincinnati is thrilled to receive this funding from the Kellogg Foundation,” said Rob Reifsnyder, president of United Way of Greater Cincinnati. “These funds will allow us to learn how to change systems, policies and programs to address the needs of children and their parents together. By working across generations, families can harness their full potential and put the entire family on the path to permanent economic security.”

The seven MOVE UP grantees include workforce development organizations that are partnering with employers to offer incumbent working parents in low-wage, entry-level jobs access to training programs, career development and work supports, like child care and transportation, so that they can move up in their careers and provide better opportunities for their children. 

“We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with the Kellogg Foundation on this important pilot initiative, which is very much in line with our mission of transforming lives through employment,” said Phil Weinberg, CEO of STRIVE International in New York. “STRIVE has long embraced an employer-driven approach to developing career pathways for men and women from underserved communities, and this grant will allow us to build on this approach in ways that impact the lives of New York families.” 

Both pilot study programs are grounded in WKKF’s commitment to supporting community-led solutions that help remove the barriers to economic security faced by lower-income families and families of color. Parents who are financially secure can better support their families and help ensure their children can succeed in school and in life.

STEPS and MOVE UP are part of the foundation’s efforts to increase opportunities for employment in quality jobs. Another recent example is the foundation’s participation in the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, an employer-led coalition designed to create meaningful employment for America’s opportunity youth. There are currently 5.5 million opportunity youth in America – those youth ages 16-24 who are neither employed nor in school.

Through these and other community partnerships, WKKF aims to ensure that parents have access to every available resource – including job training, opportunities for growth and family-friendly work environments – that helps them better support their families and save for their children’s futures. 

A complete list of the 14 organizations is provided below. Details for each grant are available.

STEPS Grantees: 

MOVE UP Grantees: 

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

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