Northside Funders Group


Meaningful and Sustainable Employment

North@Work is a comprehensive set of innovative interventions designed to tip the scales of economic mobility and regional prosperity by connecting 2,000 African American men to meaningful, sustainable, living-wage employment over five years and catalyzing systems changes that will eliminate racial employment disparities.


Persistent Challenge

The existing workforce system has inadequately served African American men. The statistics about African American male unemployment in the Twin cities region point to a persistent challenge of keeping black males employed in a system that is in many ways working against them. Fewer African American achieved stable employment after participating in a public workforce program than every other demographic group, except Native Americans. Employing African American men will require strategies that provide training while strengthening workplace cultures, hiring practices and funding programs.


North@Work’s Innovations

Opportunities of this scale can only be realized through strategic intervention. North@Work focuses on all facets of the workforce system – training, placement, funding, retention and more – to create real change for African American men living on the Northside. Here’s how:

  1. Trusted Networks: Men who live on the Northside are surround by trusted organizations and leaders in the African American community. They will be referred to North@Work by churches, friends and others who believe in their potential.
  2. Aspiration and Aptitude Testing: Men will take custom assessments to help them define and understand their strengths and opportunities. They will also learn about the type of work that they would enjoy, which will help them retain employment over time.
  3. Customized Training and Placement: Through North@Work’s customized training, men will develop needed soft skills, technical and job-specific skills. They will be matched with work in a meaningful, permanent job that suits their skills in targeted high-potential industries like healthcare, transportation or construction.
  4. Cohort Model: Each man will be supported by a cohort of his peers who are striving toward similar life goals and a cohort of peers entering the workforce at the same time.
  5. Inclusive Workplaces: North@Work employers will be supported by a team of diverse staffing experts. While men are being trained to be productive employees, employers will partner with our experts to strengthen their capacity for effective hiring, training and retention.
  6. Advocacy: North@Work will support African American men by challenging public and employer policies and practices that present barriers to sustainable employment.

The Northside Funders Group is grateful to these partners for their financial support of North@Work: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, Edward R. Bazinet Charitable Foundation, MSPWin, Living Cities and The Minneapolis Foundation.




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