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MAYOR GRAHAM RICHARD

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The City of Fort Wayne recently completed its first FaithWorks Leadership Academy. 51 participants from 30 organizations went through the training, in which they learned how to manage their finances, work collaboratively with other faith-based and community-based organizations and leverage their resources to receive and administer grants and other private and public funds. The FaithWorks Leadership Academy was made possible with a $90,000 state grant and a partnership between the City and the Northeast Indiana Workforce Investment Board (NIWIB).

I am proud to announce that, because of the FaithWorks Initiative, another $1.2 million is coming into the community to enhance workforce opportunities for the community's youth. The NIWIB is distributing the federal dollars to 15 social service organizations who will serve 455 in and out-of-school youth. The programs will give youth the workplace skills they need to be successful in their careers and higher education.

For example, Urban Ministries, which recently completed the FaithWorks academy, is receiving $72,000 to train at-risk youth in basic skills, leadership, diversity and sensitivity, drug and alcohol awareness and individualized tutoring. Other programs will train future nurses and chefs, automotive technicians and computer engineers and landscapers and sales professionals.

When I announced the FaithWorks initiative in January I was confident the program would help Fort Wayne's faith-based and community-based organizations leverage their talents and services to bring more dollars back into the community. Clearly, this has been a success.

The funds from NIWIB will give hundreds of low income and at-risk youth in our community the opportunity to enhance their education and take advantage of paid work experiences. The young people will be more marketable to area employers and benefit not just Fort Wayne's standard of life, but also its economy.

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