CINCINNATI (August 20, 2020) — Google today announced Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati will receive $125,000 in grant funding as the People’s Choice Award winner in the Google.org Impact Challenge Ohio. The award, determined by popular vote, brings total grant funding from Google.org to $300,000 for the Easterseals FastTrac construction training program.
Easterseals was one of five nonprofit organizations recognized by Google and an expert panel of judges for their work to create economic opportunity in Ohio through innovative ideas and programming. Each of the finalists received $175,000 in grant funding from Google.org and Google training and tools through the Grow with Google program.
“Google is proud to support the innovative ideas of these five nonprofits as they work to create economic and social opportunity for Ohioans all across the state,” said Reginald Mcknight, Google’s Regional Head of External Affairs & Community Development, “Congratulations to today’s winners, especially Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati, who was chosen by public vote as the People’s Choice Winner.”
"We are so grateful to Google.org and the People’s Choice voters for investing in Easterseals FastTrac so we can create more economic opportunity and build a more diverse and inclusive workforce in Greater Cincinnati," said Pam Green, President & CEO of Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati. "Construction is one of the most in-demand careers in Ohio. This additional grant money will do so much good by providing the training and credentials needed to put great careers within reach."
Easterseals FastTrac is an intensive, 12-week program that combines classroom learning and hands-on instruction to provide a pathway to sustainable employment in the construction industry. FastTrac participants have the opportunity to earn their NCCER Core Curriculum Certification, OSHA 10-Hour Card, skid-loader and forklift certifications, and First Aid / CPR certification at no cost.
Easterseals designed FastTrac as a bridge to a long-term career for people receiving unemployment benefits or cash assistance from the government. This allows participants to continue receiving a reliable source of income while building up skills and debt-free credentials for future independence.
The grant money from the Google.org Impact Challenge will allow Easterseals to expand training capacity within FastTrac and cover the cost of certifications, as well as purchase tools, personal protective equipment, and building materials used in the training program.
FastTrac addresses a major shortage of skilled labor in the construction industry as many members of the current workforce approach retirement age. Construction is now among the most in-demand careers in Ohio. The demand for a skilled construction workforce is projected to grow 11% over the next decade according to the US Bureau of Labor statistics.
Support for Easterseals’ construction programs benefits its broader mission to break down barriers to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce and community, serving people with disabilities, veterans and military families, and people facing economic disadvantages.
In addition to FastTrac, Easterseals’ construction pathway includes YouthBuild, a construction training and employment program for young adults in Hamilton County who did not complete high school, and Building Value, a pre-apprenticeship work readiness program operated in partnership with Messer Construction.
Judges who selected the finalists in the Google.org Impact Challenge include Elena Foulis, PhD, State Commissioner for the Ohio Commission of Hispanic/Latino Affairs; Brian Hall, Senior Vice President of the Greater Cleveland Partnership for Equity & Inclusion; Shilpa Kedar, Executive Director of Digital and IoT Innovations at Cleveland State University; Kimm Lauterbach, President and CEO of REDI Cincinnati; M. Duane Nellis, PhD, President of Ohio University; and Eric Phillips, CEO of the Union County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development.