SER-Jobs for Progress—Improving Lives...One Job at a Time.

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Construction Underway on New Workforce Opportunity Center

Posted August 9

Construction Underway on New Workforce Opportunity Center Set to open April 2018 in Houston’s East End, featuring... Read more...

Construction Underway on New Workforce Opportunity Center

Construction Underway on New Workforce Opportunity Center

Set to open April 2018 in Houston’s East End, featuring the community's first Career Café

SER serves thousands each year, but demand is far beyond our current capacity and growing. Houston faces an increasing middle-skills gap, and almost one in five youth aged 16 to 24 is neither in school or employed. To tackle these challenges, we are creating an innovative Workforce Opportunity Center at 1710 Telephone Road. The center will allow us to expand services and offer some new approaches, empowering people to create an even better life for themselves and their families, and help strengthen our community.

“We want to create a community hub where residents can access education, training, support services, and jobs,” says SER CEO Nory Angel. “It will also be a place where employers can recruit, interview, and hire candidates by partnering with our team to help meet their business’ workforce needs.”

Turning the vision into reality
Construction on this project began with the generous support and commitment of partners like LISC Houston. “SER Jobs for Progress has been a key partner in Houston's East End since 2011 and now our largest financial opportunity center as reflected by their expansion,” explains Amanda Timm, executive director of LISC Houston. “LISC's investment of $4.8 million in loan capital coupled with an $8 million allocation of new market tax credits reflects our commitment to work with partners in building family wealth among Houston’s most vulnerable populations.”

Phase I of our capital campaign was completed with the raising of $11.488 million through City of Houston and Harris County Community Development Block Grants, new market tax credits, and generous philanthropic support from foundations including Fondren, Brown, Cullen, Medallion, and Marek Family Foundation, and SER’s Board of Directors. We will soon reach out to the public for support in Phase II of the campaign, starting with a press conference held September 19 at 8:30 a.m. at 1710 Telephone Road. All are welcome to attend!

The building was originally built by Mr. Tom Tellepsen and served as the Tellepsen company headquarters for nearly 40 years. The renovation process is almost midway, with completion planned for February 2018 and the doors opening to the public in April 2018

Opening the Career Café to the whole community
Clients as well as community residents will be welcomed into the new center through the Career Café. Here they will have access to healthy foods and beverages, including locally sourced coffee and light bites, and resources to conduct their own self-directed job search via internet-enabled computers and labor market information, and opportunities to interview with local employers. The café will also provide barista training to youth. We envision the café becoming a place for the community to gather and meet, and for employers and job seekers to connect.

Expanding capacity and youth development
The new main campus will double our existing classroom space for courses ranging from life skills, financial education, and career readiness, to GED preparation, and computer skills. An adjacent 30,000-square-foot warehouse will be outfitted with training labs for specific careers like construction and logistics.

Currently we serve approximately 4,000 individuals a year, from 16-year-olds to senior citizens, with specialized services for veterans, ex-offenders returning to the workforce, elders, and youth and young adults. At the new center we plan to expand our work with youth by featuring a meeting spot for them to obtain much-needed adult and peer support, occupational training, paid internships, and mentoring to support them on their path to re-engagement with school, higher education, and careers. We will gradually increase the number of all individuals served to 8,000 annually by 2020.

 “Education and job training are invaluable tools needed by individuals to help lift themselves out of poverty, earn living-wages, and build productive lives,” says Angel. “This center will not only make these tools more accessible, but will also help bring job-seekers, students, employers, volunteers and the community together. Through thoughtful collaboration we can help some of the most at-risk and in-need individuals achieve real transformation, bringing lasting success that will ripple through their families and our city for generations to come, improving quality of life for us all."

 

LISC was instrumental in helping SER Jobs access complex finance tools to leverage funds for construction of the new Workforce Opportunity Center, slated to open April 2018. From left: Amanda Timm, executive director of LISC Houston; Nory Angel, CEO of SER Jobs; and Maurice Jones, president of LISC National.

 

Press Conference Announcing Launch of Capital Campaign to the Public 
September 19 at 8:30 a.m., 1710 Telephone Road
All are welcome!

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