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Atlanta gets new funds to help unsheltered, formerly incarcerated people find jobs

The grant will be utilized by WorkSource Atlanta.
Credit: Image by bridgesward from Pixabay

ATLANTA — Atlanta will have more federal funds to help a population that struggles to gain employment hold steady jobs.

WorkSource Atlanta, the city's career resource and support service, just received $700,000 in federal funds to help people – who may not have a home or have a criminal conviction – get training and employment access to high-demand industries. 

The City of Atlanta announced Wednesday the funds are made possible by a U.S. Department of Labor QUEST Disaster Recovery Dislocated Worker Grant. It's meant to be used to train underserved populations in transportation, distribution, logistics and construction, according to a city news release.

“One of the most important ways to reach stability is through consistent employment with decent wages,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens in a prepared statement. “The QUEST Grant will allow the City to support some of our most vulnerable residents by helping build a pathway to high-demand careers with decent wages, benefits and steady work schedules.”

According to city leaders, WorkSource Atlanta plans to collaborate with community organizations like The Salvation Army, Gateway Center, Urban League of Greater Atlanta, City of Refuge and the Center for Employment Opportunities. These groups specialize in serving unsheltered populations or re-entry populations. Officials said WorkSource Atlanta will work with the aforementioned partners to design an outreach strategy and develop a customized referral and enrollment process for eligible participants.

WorkSource Atlanta is also partnering with the Georgia Justice Project for referrals to pair reentry individuals with employers that hire people with prior convictions.

Part of WorkSource Atlanta's strategy is to continue to provide advisement and guidance after participants are fully employed. This will hopefully guide participants to hold a job and advance on a career path. Participants will also receive training opportunities on financial budgeting and management, leadership development and community engagement. 

In December 2022, Dickens also announced a plan to establish the Department of Labor and Employment Services. It will be dedicated to expanding resources for employment and customized training. WorkSource Atlanta will be made part of the department upon its establishment, according to a news release.

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