In this month’s partner profile, Beckham shares Integrity’s vision for the Westside and talks about the impact of the Westside’s newest workforce development effort.
1. How did you get into workforce development?
After seeing a great need in our community for workforce development services, I created ITCDC. With my understanding of the many large scale projects coming to the community, I wanted to ensure that Westside residents would be prepared to benefit from the many employment opportunities that would be created.
2. How did the Westside Neighborhoods Beautification Project come about?
The Beautification Project was established to address the issues of blight and property neglect, coupled with the need to provide job readiness services and work experience opportunities for our participants. We are also reaching residents of the Westside who have the greatest economic challenges and barriers to employment such as low literacy, criminal backgrounds and lack of work experience. The program provides immediate employment for Westside residents, while ITCDC is engaged in locating long term employment opportunities after the completion of the work experience component.
3. Tell us about this class of participants.
The class consists of 13 individuals who are committed to cleaning up their community. Most have been unemployed for many years and desire a chance to reclaim their lives through the efforts of the program. They all completed the 3-week job readiness component and have been active participants with the work experience component. We have already seen growth, excitement and hope in the participants.
4. What do you think are the community’s greatest assets?
Ready and willing residents that only need resources and opportunities; the Westside’s close proximity to many of the most notable and frequented venues and landmarks in the City; and the Westside’s rich history.
5. What is your hope for the Westside?
My hope is that the Westside will become a place where current residents and future residents can reside and thrive together. Building a community through cooperative efforts resulting in a community where we can all live, work and worship.