Ballmer Group to Support Detroit’s Economic Recovery Through a $750,000 Grant to SER Metro-Detroit

DETROIT, Michigan – SER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress announced today they received a three-year $750,000 grant award from Ballmer Group, an organization founded by Connie and Steve Ballmer.  Ballmer Group was founded with a mission to use philanthropy to help address systemic challenges and barriers to economic mobility for children and families in the U.S. One of Ballmer Group’s focus regions is Southeast Michigan (Wayne-Oakland-Macomb counties), where Steve Ballmer was born and raised.

As the need continues to increase, and young Detroiters disproportionally comprise the population for the most vulnerable, these funds will greatly increase their opportunities to reconnect, virtually or in-person, to school and work. This grant award will support and expand foundational skills training, vocational training programs, and related barrier removal supports for opportunity youth and other members of the Detroit community. Working in conjunction with the nationally recognized SER YouthBuild Learning Academy (SYLA) and the SER Bridges to Career Opportunities (BCO) programs, the expanded services will act as pathways to careers in the construction trades industry, thereby creating upward mobility opportunities for those living in historically underserved communities. SER Metro-Detroit will serve over 200 individuals annually with the goal of increasing literacy and numeracy by two grade levels in the first sixty-days of enrollment and participation.

“A career path is one of the critical building blocks of economic mobility,” said Kylee Mitchell Wells, Executive Director of Ballmer Group, Southeast Michigan. “We are proud to support the work of SER Metro-Detroit to address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic and help more young Detroiters secure viable employment.”

“We at SER Metro-Detroit are extremely proud to receive Ballmer’s support of our work during these unprecedented pandemic times in our living history. COVID-19 has required us to re-invent and transition our service delivery, programming, and training to a virtual-format and platform to continue addressing the critical education needs of our community families and assist them in upskilling and preparing for their next post-pandemic job. This grant will also allow us to reach out to those who continue to be left behind and provide them with an opportunity to gain the necessary skills and experience to be more competitive in their future education and employment goals,” said Eva Garza Dewaelsche, SER Metro-Detroit’s President and CEO.  

SER Metro-Detroit looks forward to collaborating with the Ballmer Group in addressing the employment, education, and other basic needs of adults and youth of Detroit.

About SER Metro-Detroit

SER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc. (SER) is a community-based organization that believes in the potential of every individual. For more than 49 years, SER has assisted thousands of at-risk and disadvantaged residents from across the City of Detroit and the region in becoming financially independent through quality employment, education, and training programs. For more information visit https://www.sermetro.org.

About Ballmer Group

Ballmer Group works to improve economic mobility for children and families in the United States who are disproportionately likely to remain in poverty. We believe that building pathways to opportunity requires broad, systemic change, and we work to understand and mitigate the systemic and inequitable impact of race on economic mobility. Ballmer Group was co-founded by philanthropist and civic activist Connie Ballmer and her husband Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, founder of USAFacts, and Chairman of the Los Angeles Clippers. Learn more at www.ballmergroup.org and on Twitter @BallmerGroup.

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