The primary focus of the Urban Alliance programming efforts is workforce development, specifically designed for individuals with significant barriers to competitive employment. While most of our students have been successfully hired, maintaining employment and working toward promotion opportunities are historically where our friends struggle.
In response to this need, Urban Alliance offers Momentum, STRIDES, and additional technical training in collaboration with Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) and the Northside Association of Community Development (NACD) to help students secure and maintain living-wage employment. We believe that stable and sustainable employment is critical to both individual and community transformation.
Students are connected to sustainable employment opportunities through life skill and career readiness training in this program.
The Momentum Urban Employment Initiative is a six-week, community-based economic development program for unemployed and underemployed individuals within the community. We connect these individuals to sustainable employment opportunities through pre-employment training, life skills training, coaching, and networking with Urban Alliance’s business network.
The program emphasizes pre-employment education, volunteer work experience, mentoring, job placement, and job evaluation with incentives. Each student completes 100 hours of in-class instruction as well as 100 hours of volunteer work experience outside of the classroom with other nonprofit organizations within the community. In addition, Momentum addresses the root causes of early job loss by building capacity and resiliency within the students through essential and life-skills classes.
By connecting them to the resources needed to be successful, STRIDES students are positioned for more successful employment.
STRIDES (Seeking Talented and Ready Individuals Determined for Employment Success) is a three-week employment program that provides students with employment readiness and personal leadership skills as well as assistance with removing barriers to enable students to become reliable employees.
The program teaches professionalism, time management, problem solving, decision making, leadership in the workplace, and emotional intelligence among other skills.
In addition to teaching employment readiness skills, STRIDES connects students to resources needed to be successful in and out of the workplace. Resources include support groups, financial coaching, and assistance with finding childcare as well as soft handoffs to other organizations who will assist in meeting other needs.
Hands-on technical training for Urban Alliance graduates and the greater community.
Beginning in 2015, Urban Alliance formed a partnership with KVCC to provide specialized technical training upon completion of the Momentum program. These intensive, accelerated, employer-driven academies have been highly successful in further equipping Momentum (and now STRIDES) graduates to gain life-sustaining jobs as well as help in positioning them for future promotions.
The academies combine college-level classroom instruction with hands-on technical experience. Students may participate in a variety of trainings including CNC operation, warehouse management, and production technology.
In 2021, Urban Alliance began partnering with NACD to operate our academies on the north side of Kalamazoo. Our organization provides the same excellent training while also creating additional pathways for members of our greater community to have access to both our equipment and instruction. This partnership offers access to appropriate non-Momentum or STRIDES students in addition to our graduates.
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Meet the dedicated Urban Alliance staff that makes it all happen.