(From City of Findlay)
Findlay area non-profits will receive a $10,000 DollarWise Economic Mobility Grant. The grant is administered by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in partnership with Bank of America and is aimed to encourage or promote innovation in advancing economic mobility.
Grant categories include removing barriers that prevent economic advancement, creating economic opportunity, and building assets to create intergenerational wealth. They received a grant for removing barriers that prevent economic opportunity. The funds will be used to allow individuals with convictions to petition for a Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE). A CQE is a “certificate granted by the Common Pleas Court that removes obstacles to employment for individuals with a prior criminal conviction.”
The program involves collaboration from local nonprofits Raise the Bar Hancock County (a workforce development agency changing how people along the cradle-to-career continuum learn about and prepare for careers in Findlay), the Habitat for Humanity Financial Opportunity Center (engages and educates individuals and families to build a better future through selfsufficiency), and Legal Aid of Western Ohio (helps individuals eliminate barriers to employment and increase opportunities for families living in poverty).
Together, the three entities will work to educate employers on the purpose and benefits of CQEs, assist eligible individuals with completing CQE paperwork, and strive to help CQE individuals pursue the training and job readiness assistance they need to be employed in quality, indemand occupations in Findlay/Hancock County.
The three partners will create a standardized presentation that will be delivered to nonprofit agency representatives and community mentors. Individuals eligible to petition will then receive one-on-one assistance with filing to the Hancock County Court of Common Pleas.
Grant-Funded activities will involve raising community awareness that CQEs are an option for employment. Funds will be spent on (1) contracting Legal Aid to verify accuracy of produced materials and presenting to nonprofits and individuals; (2) covering the filing fee for petitioners; and (3) creating and disseminating all marketing and outreach materials.
“Not one CQE petition has been filed in Hancock County in 11 years,” says Mayor Christina Muryn. “These grant dollars will allow our local non-profits to assist individuals seeking to work and contribute to our local economy by breaking down the barriers that are preventing them from doing so. Thank you to the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Bank of America for supporting this cause and selecting our program.”
“Through these monies, our community will be able to more effectively support residents who face barriers to employment,” says Tricia Valasek, Executive Director of Raise the Bar. “Helping individuals overcome convictions and get back on their feet with strong-paying jobs is a win-win-win for the job seeker, employers, and our community.”