Truist Foundation announced today it has awarded a $5 million grant to First Step Staffing, the largest nonprofit employment agency in the country dedicated to providing economic opportunity and a path to self-sufficiency for individuals with barriers to employment, including those who are experiencing or recently experienced homelessness. The grant will help First Step establish two new branch locations across the U.S. and pilot an enhanced client services program featuring client assessments, housing placement with financial assistance, and additional upskill training opportunities.
“Generating career pathways is an essential step in creating systemic change to help address homelessness in the U.S.,” said Lynette Bell, president of Truist Foundation. “Individuals who experience homelessness have countless barriers to overcome to earn reliable income and afford a home. We are honored to work with First Step Staffing as it expands its footprint across the country and restores economic opportunity for all.”
Currently, First Step has branches in Atlanta, Ga.; Nashville, Tenn.; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Fontana, Calif.; and Paramount, Calif. that offer one-on-one meetings with job coaches where clients discuss their work history, living situations, and other obstacles to employment. Following this meeting, clients are matched to a job within 72 hours, and First Step provides transportation to and from work.
“First Step Staffing believes that individuals, regardless of color or personal background, deserve the dignity of work and opportunity for economic mobility,” said Amelia Nickerson, CEO at First Step Staffing. “Homelessness and poverty in the U.S. are increasing, and most individuals living in these situations have little opportunity to change their story. Housing is one part of the solution. Income is the other. First Step Staffing is proud to have partnered with Truist Foundation to expand our footprint and provide more paths out of homelessness.”
In 2021, First Step provided more than 77,000 rides to and from work and helped more than 8,000 individuals get a job, helping its client base earn $57.1 million in paid wages. This comprehensive support system from First Step and Truist Foundation aims to empower individuals with employment and allow First Step’s clients to become active members of the community.
Article courtesy of Metro Atlanta CEO, published July 22, 2022.