In June 2019, United Way of McLean County announced a new initiative called Workforce180. Workforce180 focuses on creating systems locally to link resources more effectively in helping at-risk youth enter more productive careers.

Local trends and at-risk youth feedback (escalating violence, increasing poverty, lack of meaningful opportunities) indicate a divergent viewpoint on the well-being of our community.  Trends suggests affluent young people are leaving Bloomington-Normal for college and career opportunities, altering the make-up of our local workforce.

We hope to challenge the problems in our community by:

  • Fostering innovative solutions
  • Forming partnerships with existing organizations/efforts
  • Forging connections between potential workforce and employers
  • Creating pathways where none currently exist

United Way of McLean County will leverage our network of relationships and skilled volunteers to create a stronger local workforce that simultaneously:

  • Addresses the root causes of poverty trends
  • Provides meaningful career opportunities that offer advancement opportunities
  • Creates a consistent talent pipeline for local employers in growing and expanding fields
  • Maximizes local resources and fills gaps at a systems’ level in our community

The three phases of Workforce180 help each person develop skills and experience to enter the workforce and become self-sufficient and thriving individuals.

Phase 1: Identifies candidates and addresses obstacles to beginning higher education/certification track. Currently, we are identifying candidates for CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) training at Heartland Community College. Five at-risk women are currently in Phase 1.

  • Supports might include application assistance, proficiency exam prep, tuition, fees, and supplies.

Phase 2: Works with candidates as they complete 8- or 16-week CNA training to ensure successful completion and preparation for employment. One candidate is currently in the 16-week training.

  • Supports might include transportation/housing assistance, finding childcare, dealing with food insecurity

Phase 3: Assists in a successful transition into our local workforce. Ongoing dialogue with local healthcare organizations will lead to relatively efficient and smooth transitions for these candidates as they enter the workplace. Transitional supports will taper off as they achieve economic self-sufficiency.

  • Supports might include budgeting and financial planning assistance, onsite employer mentors, etc.

For Workforce Development, some current community collaborators include: