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GR City: Hopes To Curb Violence Through Workforce Development

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The City of Grand Rapids and Huntington Bank are partnering on a workforce development initiative.  It’s part of the City’s ongoing effort to reduce violence in neighborhoods.  Some City Officials are putting out a call for more to take action.

“Violence in a community isn’t the responsibility of one entity.  It really does take an all hands-on deck approach to address this.  And there are multi ways for people to get involved to come alongside.”

That’s Third Ward Grand Rapids City Commissioner, Senita Lenear.  She applauds the recent partnership with Huntington Bank.  Huntington has committed a ten-thousand-dollar match for to support a workforce development program. It was proposed by one of the City’s recent Safe Alliances for Everyone (SAFE) task force Pitch and Highlight Night winners. 

“It takes this multi-faceted approach to addressing violence. So, to have workforce development be a part of this is critical to one of the pinnacles to addressing violence in the community.”

LifeQuest Ministries is receiving 10-thousand dollars from the City and 10-thousand from Huntington Bank for its winning pitch—Hope Initiative-2019.  The program allows for daily jobs for males ages 15-24.  “It allows for there to be something constructive for that age group to do during times when they may not have something constructive to be involved in. “

“I think the other thing it provides, is it has a financial incentive, so to be able to allow for young people to have money that they’ve earned in their pocket and to feel confident and a lot comes with that.”

Commissioner Lenear says the program also includes mentoring, depression awareness and treatment resources and community meal stations among other things and she says her hope is that others will step forward to help out.

“I hope to see other private entities looking and asking and reaching out to us to see how they too can come alongside the City to help reduce violence.  We’ve all seen and heard about the recent uptick in violence in our community and I know that there’s a lot that can be done.”

For more information about those partnership opportunities, you can email Commissioner Lenear at slenear@grcity.us

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.