Citizens Bank Partners with LISC On Workforce Development Initiatives

More than $500,000 in Citizens Charitable Foundation grants are fueling education and training in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence while expanding pilot program for career development 

PROVIDENCE, RI — Citizens Bank today announced an expanded national partnership between national nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC) and the Citizens Charitable Foundation.  The partnership will fund a range of employment services designed to help people to find work, move up from minimum wage jobs and stabilize their family’s financial outlook.

“This partnership with LISC represents a long-term commitment that Citizens Bank has made through the Citizens Charitable Foundation to give back to the communities it serves,” said Barbara Cottam, Head of Corporate Affairs for Citizens Financial Group. “This new national partnership with LISC supports workforce development programs, including right here in Rhode Island, which help people grow their incomes, improve their credit,and save for the future.” 

Fueled by a Citizens Charitable Foundation investment of more than $500,000, these programs will help connect unemployed and underemployed workers in Providence, Boston & Philadelphia to the education, training and career coaching they need to compete for jobs in fast-growing fields such as health care. In Rhode Island, Citizens will provide funding for Genesis Center programs to support training for various health care positions and will provide an employment pipeline for Providence Community Health Centers and other healthcare providers in Rhode Island.

Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) like Genesis Center, take a three-pronged and integrated approach developed by LISC that includes: education for workers who need to build their basic math and reading skills; placement in technical training programs and jobs; and post-employment coaching to help people move beyond entry-level positions and create long-term career paths with the opportunity for income growth.

The program integrates employment services with a range of financial coaching to address individual challenges—a bundled approach that has proven to help people grow their incomes and improve their credit. For example, the pre-employment component, Bridges to Career Opportunities, works with clients who, on average, test at the 6th-8th grade educational level—too low to gain entry to coveted technical training needed to move into good jobs. The Bridges program offers basic education to help people reach the levels of reading, math, and English language proficiency required to enter technical skills training programs. This education is contextualized for specific industries—like building a vocabulary around healthcare—in order to prepare people for new opportunities.

To address post-employment needs, funding from the Citizens Charitable Foundation also is helping to expand a pilot career development and wage advancement effort. It offers support for ongoing skills development along with financial and employment planning—to help participants improve job tenure, increase occupational skill, and understand the path for wage progression. It also helps participants balance the demands of work and home life and to successfully overcome obstacles that might otherwise lead to career setbacks.  

“While the local economy continues to improve in Rhode Island, targeted workforce development supports like LISC’s Financial Opportunity Centers and Bridges to Career Opportunities programs are even more vital to remove barriers and finding good, living wage jobs for everyone,” said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC Rhode Island. “By supporting these programs through the Citizens Charitable Foundation, Citizens is helping us create opportunities for more people to raise their standards of living—and, in the process, contribute to economic growth in our communities.”

The three sites in Boston, Philadelphia and Providence are part of a national network of more than 80 FOCs around the country—all tailoring their services to help people grow their incomes, improve their credit, and save for the future. The employment and financial services they provide are a fundamental part of LISC’s broader work to create economic opportunity and revitalize communities through investments in good housing,businesses, health, safety, education and jobs.

The funding of these programs by the Citizens Charitable Foundation represents a long term commitment the Citizens Bank has made to give back to the communities it serves through the Citizens Charitable Foundation’s Citizens Helping Citizens initiative. Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthening Communities is one component of this program which is focused on giving back by investing in resources that create solutions to the toughest challenges in our neighborhoods: economic development, job training, small business development, affordable housing, and neighborhood revitalization.

About LISC Rhode Island

With residents and partners, LISC Rhode Island forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families.

LISC has invested $373 million in neighborhoods across Rhode Island, helping to create more than 8,000 affordable homes and support the development of more than 2 million square feet of commercial, childcare, educational, and community space. We are committed to building strong neighborhoods and healthy communities where individuals, businesses and families can thrive. 

About Citizens Charitable Foundation

The Citizens Charitable Foundation is a philanthropic organization funded by Citizens Financial Group,Inc.  The Foundation’s mission is centered in the belief that citizenship is at the heart of Citizens’ identity, and when people and communities reach their potential, we all thrive.  The Citizens Charitable Foundation currently focuses its giving in three key areas: helping people to manage their money, engaging with partners in the fight against hunger, and strengthening our communities. By investing in these important issues, the Citizens Charitable Foundation strives to improve the lives of our fellow citizens through building partnerships with public, private, and community interests to develop neighborhoods, transform lives, and stimulate economic renewal.