Road to Hire to increase career opportunity for Black young adults in partnership with N.C. leaders, the Charlotte Hornets, high schools, colleges and major employers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Red Ventures (RV) is proud to celebrate today’s announcement that Road to Hire (R2H), a nonprofit founded based on work started at RV in 2014, is receiving a generous grant from the NBA Foundation. The NBA Foundation will award nine organizations more than $3 million as part of a larger effort to create employment opportunities, further career advancement and drive greater economic empowerment in Black communities in the U.S. and Canada.
R2H connects under-resourced young adults, often limited by financial barriers and systemic racism, with onramps to career opportunities through tech training in high schools, college scholarships, paid apprenticeships, mentorship and job placement for in-demand careers. With today’s grant and the continued support of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County leaders, the John M. Belk Endowment, Bank of America, Lowe’s and others, R2H will be able to help more deserving young adults achieve the economic justice that has long been lacking in Charlotte’s most vulnerable communities.
“We believe that hard work should be met with opportunity, but for young people born into poverty in America, gaps in education, wages and equality make for a very different reality,” said Kacey Grantham, Executive Director, Road to Hire. “Fighting for economic justice means fighting for educational and employment equity, and with the generous support of the NBA Foundation, Road to Hire will work with our schools and communities to empower underserved young adults with the social and financial capital to build strong, sustainable careers.”
R2H has served more than 1,000 Charlotte young adults since 2016 and will grow more than 50% in 2021.
“The work Road to Hire is doing has the potential to overcome decades of inequality, and what makes it unique is that the program rides to the rails of what our city has already built,” said Ric Elias, RV CEO and R2H founder. “We’re building a purpose-driven coalition of public, private, and non-profit leaders, and together, we have a line of sight to closing the economic opportunity gap that has plagued our city and the technical skill shortage many employers face today. Charlotte will be a beacon for other cities to emulate.”
The program succeeds because it is encompassing, efficient, scalable, and most importantly, has deep community support. At the high school level, through continued partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) R2H is on pace to expand its work to serve 350 students in our city’s highest-poverty schools and bring on a new school partner this summer.
“Road to Hire has been transformative for so many of our students at Garinger, Harding, Vance, West Mecklenburg, and West Charlotte high schools,” said CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston. “By providing training and mentorship, Road to Hire helps our high school students reach their full potential and take advantage of the options for their future.”
At the college level, R2H provides four-year scholarships at partner universities, including UNC Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University, NC A&T University, Wingate University, Winston-Salem State University, Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) and more. In addition to scholarships, the program provides long-term mentorship, internship support, career guidance and job placement support.
With leadership from the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council (CELC) and R2H’s corporate partners, the business community has come together to make a tangible impact in the lives of Charlotte’s young adults – mentoring and employing nearly 200 R2H alumni at Bank of America, Atrium Health, Duke Energy, Lowe’s, Ally, Truist, Novant Health and more. The success of R2H’s alumni does not end there – 87% are promoted within two years.
RV looks forward to continuing as an employment partner for R2H. The company has hired more than 60 R2H graduates and more than 400 RV employees volunteer with the organization.
“Without Road to Hire, I wouldn’t be here today. Before this, I always had to choose between school and work,” said Malik Robinson, who has overcome many obstacles in life, including homelessness, and has thrived since graduating from Road to Hire in October 2017. He now works as an Associate Engineer at RV. “Road to Hire and RV, to me, means family. I went through a lot, before, during and after the program, but knowing I could come to work and see fellow classmates and alumni got me through. I know at RV, there are always people in my corner.”
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