The Leadership and Literacy Foundation (L&L) has been building organizations’ workforce and developing employees since 1999 and now seeks funds to create Project GROW which will create 250 new jobs in the direct service markets of childcare and food services. L&L has partnered with Little Sprouts and Salvatore’s Restaurant to measure barriers to job growth. Both organizations had the capacity to grow in 2009 but were inhibited due to the lack of a qualified workforce, and as a result, over 60 jobs were left vacant.
Project GROW will achieve 3 goals: 1) Create 150 new jobs to serve unemployed residents of the greater Merrimack Valley and Boston, 2) Improve employment through promotions and increased wages/ hours of 100 underemployed residents; 3) increase employee skills as measured by performance and quality objective evaluations.
The Merrimack Valley has a significant English Language Learner population, especially Lawrence where both Little Sprouts and Salvatore’s are based. This language barrier prohibits many residents from gaining employment or growing in their positions. Funds will be used for ESL classes for underemployed workers and for entry level new employees. Money will also be spent for leadership development (time management, communication, empowerment through teamwork, conflict resolution, and coworker relationships) to promote job retention and growth opportunities. Finally, funding will cover college coursework required for the underemployed to be promoted into new management positions which will support organizational growth.