One of the Wilmington Leaders Alliance’s focus areas is workforce development. In simple terms, the focus is to create and maintain a skilled labor force for the needs of Wilmington, Delaware companies. While we partner and support many organizations to provide educational and training opportunities, Generation USA has been a major player in Wilmington for thirteen years and we continue to partner with them to provide technical skill training to Wilmington Residents who are unemployed or underemployed.
In nearly five years of existence, Generation has successfully graduated over 22,541 students, 55% being female. The non-profit operates in 9 countries with 91 cities and 228 cities.
The organization has the dual mission to empower young people to build thriving, sustainable careers and to provide employers with the highly skilled, motivated talent they need. Generation is a demand-driven program, meaning that the team focuses on identifying employers who need talent and are having difficulty finding it and that it prepares a qualified supply of trained graduates. In its first 3 years, Generation has worked with thousands of employer partners and has launched careers for more than 22,000 young adults across the world. Last year the success they found internationally won them the WISE award.
Wilmington and Generation- a Short History
Four years ago Wilmington was one of a few kick-off locations for the organization. It began with a partnership with DelTech to create the Certified Nurse Assistant program, which was an 8-week program that ran 13 cohorts. By the end of the program, Generation saw a 96% graduation rate and an 88% job placement rate. Many of the students in that program went from welfare to working again. The majority of those students decided later on going back to school to become Registered Nurses.
The next program to run was the Customer Service course. This 5-week class taught customer service skills so students could ensure customers found what they needed while providing a positive experience. This course laid the foundation for the current classes available.
WLA and Generation’s Partnership
Two of Wilmington Leaders Alliance focus areas are workforce development and education. With this focus, this empowers member companies like M&T Bank, Capital One, and WSFS, to identify needs in their companies and work together to find a mutually beneficial solution. In this case, the need for bankers with the technical knowledge of the job was scarce in a city that is known as the banking capital of the US. That is where Generation comes in.
Last year WLA partnered with Generation to create a solution. Working directly with M&T, Capital One, and WSFS, the Universal Banking Program was created. The first class started in mid-September with eighteen young adults from ages 18 to 30. This kick-off class had a mixture of students from a variety of backgrounds. From their to mid-2019, three cohorts have been completed with a total of sixty-five students have graduated. With the success of the program growing, another cohort will be starting on May 20th.
Success can be defined by a variety of things. From one student starting the program homeless and ending the program employed to pure statistics, this program has mathematical proof of that success. Currently, the unemployment rate in Wilmington, Delaware is 6.4% which means is 2,197 people have lost their job within the past six months. Based on Generation’s national data, programs will reduce unemployment by 10%. On average, a Generation graduate earns $32,000 a year. Based on these outcomes, we can determine the state’s savings per individual in subsidies as well as the increased revenue through income tax. For 200 people there is a subsidy savings of $2,000-5,000 per individual. The state of Delaware will gain $2,500 in income tax revenue per individual and will save taxpayers $900,000 within two years.
With such success, other area banks have become interested in the program. From WLA Members M&T or WSFS to non-members like Bank of America, this program’s success has sparked the interest in many companies that call Wilmington, Delaware home.
The Future of This Partnership
One program is not enough to completely change the landscape of a city or community. Wilmington Leaders Alliance is proud to again work with Generation to create the Pre-Apprentice Construction Helper program. Partnering with Associated Builders & Contractors (AB&C), students will get an in-depth 5-week hands-on training that will prepare them to work on a job site and be an effective member of the construction team from day one. Students will graduate the program with the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) 10-Hour Construction certification along with the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) Core Curriculum certification.
This program starts on May 28th.