|“I am thrilled that we are becoming the national benchmark for equity and restorative justice tied to cannabis tax revenue,” said Cannabis Program Supervisor Dasheeda Dawson. “We are leading the way as the first program in the country that has reinvestment tied to cannabis tax revenue.”
In the first three years of the grant program, SEED Initiatives administered $1.5 million dollars to 15 grant recipients, with 72 total applications. This year, SEED Initiatives received more applications than the past three years combined and based on the commitment from City Council to provide ongoing funding for SEED Initiatives, the grant program was able to award 17 applicants a total of $1.8 million dollars which will cover both 2020-21 and 2021-22 grant cycles.
Case Study of SEED Grant at Work
Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center (POIC) + Rosemary Anderson High School (RAHS) Construction Pre-Apprenticeship program has been a SEED Grant Fund recipient for the past three years. Their program largely serves Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities, low-income communities, and people coming out of incarceration.
Their program is an introduction to various construction trades and provides 288 hours of training in which they are paid. The program also includes financial literacy and soft skills training. Graduates walk away from the program with a flagging credential, hands-on skills, first aid training, and an Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) 10 certificate. The program offers direct entry into full apprenticeship programs, labor unions, or fulltime careers as linemen, laborers, and HVAC/sheet metal workers.
“Our program gives folks access to exciting new opportunities in the trades,” Director of Employment and Training Megan Bell explained. “Construction is an incredible opportunity for the young adults we work with, especially those that have a prior arrest or conviction that may impact their employability in other sectors. I would like to see more apprenticeship programs pledge a commitment to hiring graduates from pre-apprenticeship programs.”
“The program is an opportunity to meet people where they are and helps them learn something new while changing the trajectory of lives,” said Director of Development Ruben Fonseca. “Our program not only offers training in the construction trades, but it provides wrap-around services that are needed for everyone to succeed, such as providing childcare, remedying housing or food insecurity, assistance in earning a driver’s license, setting-up a bank account and taking financial literacy classes for long-term financial independence.”
Brandon Lane found new opportunities after graduating from the Construction Pre-Apprenticeship program in 2019. He is now employed with O’Neill Electric, Inc. earning a living wage and supporting his biggest motivator, his son. “I just want to work, be good at my job, and help someone else take the path that I took,” said Lane. “Having a good job as an electrician, will make sure that my life is stable and consistent. Being an electrician is a trade I can take into any state…and it will make sure that I always have work available.”