WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Do School, a community nonprofit organization that is building economic mobility through an innovative training program, announced it has received a new $30,000 grant from CollegeNET, Inc., a technology company based in Portland, Oregon that supports greater affordability and access to higher education.
Do School (DS) is pioneering an innovative approach to skills training in the construction industry and providing it for marginalized residents of low-wealth neighborhoods. Do School’s 20-week training program prepares students for jobs in the construction and remodeling industry as they refurbish East Winston houses and revitalize the area. DS then sells the houses to first-time homeowners and others.
Improving Lives and Neighborhoods
According to Do School Founder and Executive Director Jerry Anderson, “We bring women and men from underserved communities into a live learning environment with training in the construction trades. The process begins with the purchase of a house that needs repair and has depressed property value. The house becomes a platform for training our cohorts about the various aspects of the home renovation process. Once complete, we can make that property available to purchase through a first-time homebuyer’s initiative.” The renovated homes help boost surrounding property values and vitality of the neighborhood, while proceeds from the sale allow Do School to purchase additional properties and continue providing skills training opportunities.
Supporting Community Action for Social Mobility
The CollegeNET grant supports Do School’s practical approach to improving individual lives and the community by providing on-the-job skills development and mentorship. The funds will help provide crucial materials, machinery, and other resources. “We’re pleased to help Do School launch this hands-on, innovative learning program that propels people toward better futures as they develop real skills, self-confidence, and personal opportunity,” said CollegeNET President Jim Wolfston.
“We’re extremely grateful to CollegeNET for recognizing the important impact we can have on our community by helping folks develop practical skills and giving them opportunities to put those skills to good use,” said Anderson. “This grant not only provides critical resources, but also signals growing support for our mission.”
A Collaborative Partnership
An initial partnership among Do School, Piedmont Federal Savings Bank, and The Winston-Salem Foundation helped kickstart the pilot program with funds to cover the cost of purchasing and renovating the first property. Anderson is leading the effort with more East Winston residents to break down barriers to economic mobility. Do School’s growing list of partners includes Winston-Salem State University’s Center for the Study of Economic Mobility (CSEM), Frank L. Blum Construction, Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County, and CollegeNET, Inc.
“There are people who can change the trajectory of our communities when they are fully involved,” Anderson said. “It’s part and parcel of our Place, Our Space. We must be the change we want to see. Our collaborative model gives everybody a chance to operate in their lane, whatever that might be, ranging from clerical to construction.”
About Do School
Do School (DS) is a nonprofit organization that focuses on building economic mobility in underserved sectors of the city. Its mission is to promote collaboration in training a capable, sustainable workforce in the construction industry. DS recognizes that training must extend beyond trade skills to incorporate life skills—a component missing from most traditional training models.
To learn more, visit thedo-school.org.
CollegeNET, Inc. designs and builds on-demand SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) technologies that help colleges and universities improve operational efficiency, enhance communication with constituents, and save resources. CollegeNET is the creator of the Social Mobility Index (SMI; socialmobilityindex.org). The SMI measures the extent to which a college or university admits economically disadvantaged students at lower tuition, supports their academic progress through graduation, and prepares them to obtain well-paying jobs. The company is also the producer of the new full-length documentary, RIGGED, which examines the causes and proposes solutions to the growing economic disparity in the United States.