Urban League partnership to expand training program

December 6th, 2018

By Ashley Sloboda | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne Urban League, which in recent years has helped bolster the construction trades workforce, is expanding to serve more industries thanks to a new partnership with the national organization.

The National Urban League selected the local affiliate for the opportunity through a “highly competitive” application process, said Cosette Grant-Overton, the affiliate's president and CEO.

“We're excited about this,” Grant-Overton said Monday, two days after the partnership's official launch. It expands “our efforts so that we can reach more individuals.”

The affiliate will receive funding from the U.S. Department of Labor, Grant-Overton said, noting the total hasn't been finalized.

The Fort Wayne Urban League is a regional resource for businesses and workers.

Its pre-apprenticeship jobs program, which began in 2015, prepares workers for skilled-trade posts such as bricklayer, carpenter, cement mason, electrician, ironworker, painter, plasterer, plumber, roofer and sheet metal worker.

With the new partnership, Fort Wayne Urban League can expand its impact to such industries as telecommunications, information technology manufacturing, transportation and health care, Grant-Overton said. The new initiative also aligns with the affiliate's overall workforce development plans for progress – to prepare the next generation of skilled-trade workers while increasing race and gender diversity, according to a news release.

Grant-Overton encouraged interested northeast Indiana businesses to contact the Fort Wayne Urban League to learn more, noting the organization can also help businesses draw upon a nationwide talent pool.

“Ultimately, (Fort Wayne Urban League) looks forward to engaging a holistic approach with government, business and industry leaders to work creatively and collaboratively to prepare our present and future workforce,” the release said. “Together, we can meet the challenges of automation and evolving technology, a shifting (economic) landscape, both today and in the future.”