CCAC and Community Empowerment Association partner to implement Caring Connections to Careers pilot program

Article by: CCAC Public Relations

PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County and Community Empowerment Association (CEA) have entered into a collaborative partnership to implement the Caring Connections to Careers pilot program, which has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. The initiative will provide job readiness, life skills and soft skills training, as well as career pathways aimed at obtaining family sustaining careers for those interested in becoming work-ready for the myriad employment opportunities in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

The goal of the partnership is to annually enroll 50 participants in a comprehensive work readiness and training program to prepare them for successful employment in the fields of IT, nursing assistant, HVAC, welding and entrepreneurship. CEA will identify, recruit and mentor students, targeting low-income and predominantly African-American communities in the Pittsburgh region.

CEA President Rashad Byrdsong said, “This is an exciting and long awaited opportunity for the community. Participants will gain not only education and training to prepare them for the many jobs that will be available throughout Allegheny County, but also access to needed resources in their efforts for goal attainment. This pilot is just the first step in an extended partnership as we continue to address the disparity rates of our population.”

The initiative, through CEA, will provide support services to participants, including career counseling, GED preparation, work readiness training, interpersonal communication coaching, financial literacy training, follow-up monitoring and program evaluation. In addition, a neighborhood employment resource center will be developed to connect available job opportunities and resources to those who are in need of jobs and are job ready.

CEA will conduct a Recruitment and Orientation about the program on June 30 at 6:00 p.m. at Community Empowerment Association, 7120 Kelly Street, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15208. Participants will be able to sign up at the event and hear details about the program.

For full implementation by the fall 2016 semester, CCAC will conduct placement testing, build the course schedules, hire credentialed faculty, provide orientation sessions and monitor student progress through early intervention strategies and midterm grade analysis. The college will also utilize success coaches for academic student support. Internship opportunities for eligible candidates will be identified by CEA and CCAC to provide students with employer engagement and possible career leads.


About the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)
CCAC annually educates nearly 30,000 credit students through more than 150 degree, certificate, diploma and transfer programs and offers thousands of students access to noncredit and workforce development courses. The learning-centered institution’s mission is to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society. CCAC’s quality programs enable students to transfer credits to approximately 500 colleges and universities and support regional workforce needs with accessible instruction available day, evening, weekend and online in Allegheny County and beyond. Visit to learn more.

About the Community Empowerment Association (CEA)
Veteran community activist T. Rashad Byrdsong founded Community Empowerment Association, Inc. (CEA) in 1994 to address the impact of violence on families and communities. CEA is located in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh. For more information, please call 412-371-3689, Ext. 14.

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