Paths of resiliency
In 2013, Road to Hire began helping Charlotte high school seniors, college students, and young professionals gain valuable education and experience to land jobs in the tech field. Sponsored by Red Ventures and with a mission to build a more equitable community, Road to Hire works with Charlotte residents ages 18 to 25 to help them overcome obstacles and find an in-demand career where they can flourish. The program is open to under-resourced and underrepresented youth of all demographics and gives priority to students whose opportunities and resources may be limited by systemic racism.
Program graduates go through extensive training that prepares them for dynamic career opportunities with local employers. Historically, these trainings occur face-to-face, allowing students to form meaningful connections with peers and mentors. During COVID-19, Road to Hire pivoted to an all-virtual platform increasing the need for resources to support program participants.
In the same way that the program’s participants are resilient, Road to Hire faced the coronavirus pandemic with determination.
The Workforce Partner Support Grant from Charlotte Open For Business helped Road to Hire fund a technology training cohort for 50 residents who were economically impacted by COVID-19.
Road to Hire used grant funds to pay cost-of-living stipends directly to their students as they ventured through the now-virtual program. These stipends allowed the students to focus on their education without having to worry about providing for themselves or their families. This was especially critical during this pandemic cohort; when most students would not have been able to participate without financial support.
The stipends support the students through the 6-month rigorous training program for careers in technology. Upon graduation, the students will be hired by a program partner where they will be able to apply their new skills and receive competitive salaries and benefits.
“Our students are precisely those who have been hit hardest by COVID-19: young people of color in service industry jobs,” the organization said in their response to being awarded this grant. “The 50 fellows whose training this grant supported self-reported that 55% had hours reduced, were furloughed, or were laid off due to COVID-19 prior to the fellowship.”
Vanessa Rosario is one of many students whose life was changed because she participated in the program. Vanessa is a single mother who, before Road to Hire, worked night-shift at an Amazon fulfillment center to provide for her family. After her graduation, she will start a new career in software development at Lowe’s.
Road to Hire seeks economic justice for their students and equity for the community.
Acting as a catalyst for those who are underrepresented, Road to Hire steps in to provide fair access to training, social capital, and confidence needed for stable employment and career growth. The cohort of students who benefitted from the Workforce Partner Support grant has already proven immense resiliency to have gone through such a rigorous program during a time of incredible stress and uncertainty.
“Building mental health and resiliency tools has also always been a part of R2H’s curriculum. This year, we’ve added more trainings and support resources than ever for students struggling in the current climate,” says Road to Hire.
Thanks to this grant and the commitment of local employers, Road to Hire continues to carry-out their mission of providing resources and support to young adults. In addition to supporting the most recent cohort of graduates, Road to Hire recently received accreditation for their high school Pathways pre-apprenticeship program this year.
As the community navigates the current climate, Road to Hire will adapt to meet the needs of their students and set them up for success. Graduates of the most recent cohort signed employment offer letters to begin working with local employers and will continue to receive mentorship from Road to Hire over the next 18 months.
Road to Hire received a Workforce Partner Support Grant from Charlotte Open For Business. Through the grant program, the City of Charlotte has awarded $3.5 million to workforce partners to provide programs for our community.