Career Resources, Inc.
Career Resources, Inc. (CRI) is applying for funding to administer the RSVP Initiative for Eastern Fairfield County. An estimated 225 RSVP volunteers will serve the Eastern Fairfield County region of Connecticut. They will provide services in/to Education, Healthy Futures, Veterans and Military Families, Economic Opportunity and meet the needs in Other Community Priorities through a network of approximately 25 volunteer stations. A large part of the service delivered will be at CRI One-Stop Centers and other non-profit partners who we work with. The primary focus area for this project will be Economic Opportunity. At the end of the 12 month performance period 80 adult residents in Eastern Fairfield County will either attain employment, improve their English language skills, improve their basic skills in reading and math or attain a GED. The CNCS federal investment of $49,774 will be supplemented by $5,000 of CRI's other State or Private Source funding.
For this program we will provide services to volunteers ages 55+ residing in Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Shelton, Stratford and Trumbull Connecticut. According to information available from the Southwestern Connecticut Area Agency on Aging and the US Census 2010 there are approximately 86,488 residents ages 55+ residing in Eastern Fairfield County. Of that number approximately 6.4% or 5,535 live below poverty, a further 24% (20,757) live below 200% of poverty. More troubling 9% of women age 75+ live below poverty. It should be noted that Elder Economic Security Initiative determined that a single older adult in good health requires $21,383(for mortgage free homeowners) and $24,408 (for renters). The federal poverty level is $10,400 which means that even the 24% of older adults living below 200% of poverty are still significantly below the required income level for Fairfield County.
Unemployment and poverty in Bridgeport Connecticut go hand in hand, and reflect a cycle that shows the cumulative failures of many systems. Unemployment, at 11.8%, is the highest in the region by far. Bridgeport's public schools are in a well-publicized state of crisis. Just 11.2% of eighth-graders, and just 4.1 percent of tenth graders, met all state academic goals. The cumulative four-year dropout rate was more than 25 %. Ninety-five percent of students in the district qualify for free and reduced-provide lunches.
CRI will work closely with the City of Bridgeport to maintain the current level of programs and add an additional 225 older adults to the RSVP program. The City has supported our effort to administer the RSVP program for Eastern Fairfield County.
Career Resources Inc. (CRI) was founded in 1995 when it spun off from the region's Workforce Investment Board in order to better provide direct services. It has since gained prominence as the only non-profit in the state focusing exclusively on workforce development from the perspective both of jobseekers and disadvantaged clients, and of employers. CRI has grown into a stable, highly respected agency with more than 74 employees, programs operating throughout Connecticut, a history of clean audits and a budget of more than $6 Million. CRI maintains a deep knowledge of employer needs and is a trusted and frequent partner of local and regional Chambers of Commerce, the state's largest business association, CBIA, and state and non-profit and advocate partners.
Since 2002, CRI has proven to be an effective operator of the CTWorks One Stop system in southwestern Connecticut, pioneering many regional partnerships, showing resiliency and flexibility in meeting changing employer and workforce demands while successfully complying with regulations and program rules. In the process CRI has created a diverse menu of programs to serve the varied needs of jobseekers and businesses: these programs address digital literacy, basic literacy, soft skills, parenting and life skills and basic needs. These programs bring richness to the services of the CTWorks system that is unmatched and enable CTWorks programs to be far more effective. CRI's unique and proven ability to recognize and serve this dual client base -- jobseekers and employers -- is critical to its ability to effectively continue successful operation of the CTWorks One Stop system in these challenging economic times.