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The Salvation Army-National Business Services Alliance Partnership
Success of Katrina Aid Project Leads to Lasting Relationship
New York, NY July 15, 2008-As the three-year anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster approaches, thousands of survivors remain thankful today for the assistance they received through Katrina Aid Today, a Job Readiness Training (JRT) program operated by The Salvation Army and the National Business Services Alliance (NBSA).
For both organizations, the program's success has helped to forge a lasting partnership and an even stronger commitment to helping other at-risk communities.
The Job Readiness Training program was a critical component of a comprehensive Salvation Army initiative to help 13,000 vulnerable families rebuild their lives in the wake of Katrina's destruction. Through the program, NBSA worked one-on-one with individuals to provide skills evaluation, job readiness training and certification, job search help and more.
Thanks to a series of joint outreach initiatives, including Katrina-focused events like job fairs and clinics, NBSA was able to enroll nearly 7,500 participants, well in excess of the program's target goal of 5,000. In Baker, La., NBSA even secured space in a Department of Labor trailer and set up a computer lab in nearby Renaissance Village, a trailer community set up by FEMA. With NBSA staff on site daily, more than 500 displaced survivors were able to improve their computer skills and gain much-needed confidence.
"The Job Readiness Training program helped me to get a job in 10 days," said Yolanda Rowel, an employed JRT graduate from Baton Rouge, La. "My employer was impressed with my grades - I found the program to be priceless," she said. Rowel, currently employed by Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, works as an administrative assistant in a medical office.
"For those who have no record of previous employment, no résumé and no references, this project delivers valuable proof of their existing skills to potential employers," said NBSA founder Dan Steneker. "For many survivors, this process helped identify previously unknown skills and provided free training for skills they wanted to improve," he said.
For many Katrina survivors the program was a lifeline that provided a sense of stability, financial independence, and helped rebuild their lives. Perhaps one Gulf Port, Miss., resident said it best. "Hurricane Katrina destroyed my home, business and community, but NBSA and The Salvation Army have given me the greatest gift of all: Hope."
Although the Katrina Aid project has officially ended, NBSA's relationship with The Salvation Army remains strong. Together the two organizations have launched Career Transitions, an ongoing pilot project to deliver job training and assistance services to residents of The Salvation Army's Adult Rehabilitation Centers, which serves those in the addiction community and the homeless.
Modeled after the Katrina Aid project, Career Transitions is specifically designed to help residents identify existing skills that can be leveraged toward other "less toxic" career choices, where chances of long-term recovery and employment will be greatly improved. With pilot projects currently operating in Florida (Jacksonville, Orlando) and Texas (San Antonio, Houston and Dallas), officials from both NBSA and The Salvation Army look forward to expanding the project in early 2009.
About the National Business Services Alliance
United by the common goal of addressing today's workforce challenges, the National Business Services Alliance (NBSA), a commercial organization, collaborates with leading educators and technology providers positioned strategically across the nation to implement human capital development programs that are guided by the highest standards and commitments to education, job training, and career development. NBSA collaborators include Arizona State University; California State University, Sacramento; Central Michigan University; Louisiana State University; Northern Illinios University; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; and Weber State University. The NBSA is a division of CE Technologies, Inc. For more information, go to www.NBSAlliance.com
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination since 1865. Nearly 33 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. About 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in nearly 9,000 communities nationwide. For more information go to www.salvationarmyusa.org
National EITC Outreach Partnership
The National EITC Outreach Partnership was formed over the past year by national organizations, including federal government agencies, that consider it important to promote Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) outreach, free tax preparation alternatives, and asset development strategies. As communities across the country are discovering, such efforts increase family and neighborhood success and bring millions of dollars into local economies. We hope that this Partnership will make it easier for national organizations to provide information to local members and affiliates, thereby increasing the number of families accessing these important resources.
Please visit http://http://www.cbpp.org/eitc-partnership/intro.htm for further information on resources available.
Corporation for Supportive Housing
The purpose of this Toolkit is to provide access to tools, case studies, evaluations, sample documents, and other useful resources for connecting supportive housing tenants to employment. Please visit http://www.csh.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageId=4283&nodeID=81 for more information.
Innovations in Effective Compassion
We invite you to visit the newly-updated Innovations in Effective Compassion website. This site was created as part of the "Innovations in Effective Compassion" National Conference, hosted by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives on June 26 and 27, 2008.
On the site, you can explore ways the Faith-Based and Community Initiative has transformed government's approach to addressing human need...how nonprofits have been strengthened...and, ultimately, how faith-based and community groups have partnered with government to bring both help and hope to millions in need across America and beyond.
New York Times
August 23, 2008
Taking On the Traffickers
The Federal Trafficking and Victims Protection Act of 2000 was an ambitious attempt to rescue women and children who are smuggled into the country as sex slaves and to step up prosecution of the pimps and traffickers who drive this ghastly business. It has fallen short on both counts.
The law is now up for reauthorization, and Congress must strengthen it and extend protections and services to victims born in the United States.
The legislation provides federal funds to local trafficking task forces made up of prosecutors, law enforcement officials and social service groups. The social service groups are supposed to help identify victims and then provide them with the guidance and support they need to rebuild their lives.
According to federal estimates as many as 17,000 people - most of them women and children - are brought into this country and forced to work in brutal and inhumane conditions, often as prostitutes. The 42 federally funded task forces that have been set up have only been able to identify a small fraction of those victims.
There are many reasons for this. Traffickers are experts at moving people around without being detected. They also train the women they exploit to fear the police. The task forces are often understaffed, with too few investigators to do the job effectively. That needs to change if the country is going to get at this problem.
Prosecutors are also having a hard time making cases against traffickers and pimps. Even victims who are not too terrified to testify, must meet a very difficult standard. They must prove that they did not consent to become prostitutes and did so because of "force, fraud or coercion."
The House reauthorization would help prosecutions by adding the Mann Act's somewhat easier-to-prove standards that calls for prosecution of pimps who "persuade, induce, entice" women into prostitution. The Senate should add that language as well.
The social service groups that help prostitutes on the streets have zeroed in on another serious shortcoming: the government's failure to protect and support sexually exploited women and children born in this country. The House reauthorization requires the Justice Department to conduct a study of domestic victims so that there is at least an understanding of the scale of the problem. That would be a start but is not enough.
Congress was right to take on the problem of sexual trafficking. Now it needs to pass a more effective law; one that will provide real protection and help for all exploited women and children.
For more information please go to http://www.iast.net/
Habitat for Humanity unveils online financial education program
Atlanta (September 8, 2008)-Habitat for Humanity has partnered with the National Endowment for Financial Education to develop the "Recipes for Financial Fitness" toolkit, an interactive tool to help provide ongoing financial education and resources to Habitat homeowner families. Habitat's latest effort in building affordable houses focuses on empowering its current and future homeowners through education as a means to financial stability, and it is also available to the general public at no cost.
"Habitat for Humanity's goal has always been to eliminate poverty housing, and one of our most effective methods is the power of knowledge," said Connie Steward, vice president and chief learning officer for Habitat for Humanity International. "Habitat for Humanity is delighted to work with NEFE to provide financial education tools to help our current and future partner families, as well as others who are interested in building financial expertise."
Habitat's Recipes for Financial Fitness toolkit can be tailored to the needs of individual families and breaks down the complexity of money management by showing participants how credit, financial fitness and owning a home are all connected and dependent on one another. The interactive program covers such topics as
- Becoming financially fit
- Controlling finances
- Credit basics
- Protecting your money
- Finding a better-paying job
- Getting an education
- Owning a Habitat home
Steward adds that providing training and education for partner families and potential Habitat homeowners has long been a priority of Habitat affiliates and one that is made even more important today in light of the nation's current housing crisis.
Habitat for Humanity and NEFE's relationship started in 1999 with the Homeowners Handbook, which taught new partner homeowners about how to manage long-term opportunities and challenges arising from owning a house.
"NEFE's mission is to help people achieve financial well-being and one way to do that is to help them straighten out their finances prior to owning a house," says Ted Beck, president and chief executive officer of NEFE. "With this resource, Habitat and NEFE can help people learn the financial basics so that someday, they can own a home without worries of foreclosures."
To learn more about Habitat's Recipe for Financial Fitness toolkit, please visit www.habitat.org/hfhu/programs/nefe.
The National Endowment for Financial Education is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to helping all Americans acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to take control of their financial destiny. For more details, visit www.nefe.org.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built nearly 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for nearly 1.5 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.