Marano Fellows Class of 2009

Name: Christie Yonkers Chicotel

Towards Employment

Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Primary Industry Sector: Construction/Green Construction
Type of Organization: Community Based Organization—Workforce Intermediary

“I am motivated to do sector work because it creates the type of strategic system alignment that can move individuals out of poverty, address our community’s labor needs and improve the local economy.”

Organizational Mission: Towards Employment helps move people from poverty to a paycheck. We work with people transitioning off welfare, off the streets, or out of prison and help them find and keep good, full-time jobs. Since 1976 we have helped over 100,000 people achieve and maintain self-sufficiency.

Interest in Sector Work: We currently are involved in small scale sector initiatives in the healthcare and hospitality industries. These industries, however, are not a great source of employment for individuals with criminal backgrounds. We are interested in expanding our sector work into an industry for which a criminal background is not a substantial barrier. For this reason, I will focus my fellowship on building a sector initiative within the green jobs arena (including construction, weatherization/energy auditing, manufacturing, etc.) to be able to train and place large numbers of ex-offenders with green employers as partners. We are partnering with our community college’s Pathways out of Poverty Green Academy providing case management and placement services for their students; as well as serving as the recruitment and screening arm of the Evergreen Development Fund, which is developing plans for cooperatively-owned green businesses that provide employment opportunities for the residents of impoverished neighborhoods where the businesses are located.