Birmingham Housing Residents Successfully Complete: More than a dozen residents with the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (HABD) celebrated a significant achievement on Friday as they completed the Ready to Work program. Hosted by HABD and the Onin Group, a privately held staffing company, the program’s “Signing Day” and graduation took place at the Negro League Southern Museum. Out of the 14 participants, 10 were immediately hired.
Jacqueline French, the Director of Workforce Development at HABD, expressed the significance of the occasion, stating, “This is a celebration of a new beginning.” The five-week Workforce Development pilot program was designed for public housing residents aged 18 and older, addressing the low labor market participation in adults. Participants received workforce training, developed essential soft skills, and were provided resources to overcome employment barriers.
This collaboration between HABD and The Onin Group marked the first time they partnered for such an initiative. The training was open to residents from Collegeville, North Birmingham, and Marks Village communities. French mentioned the high demand, saying, “We only had 15 slots. We had to put others on the waiting list. The next time we will target more.”
Tiffany Bishop, Regional Workforce Development Manager for The Onin Group, emphasized their goal to “build a talent pipeline in Birmingham” and address workforce participation barriers like transportation and childcare. The program aimed not only to secure employment for residents but also to equip them with the tools needed for success in their new jobs.
Throughout the pilot program, participants completed the Alabama Career Essentials (ACE) training course and received support from employer collaborators such as Altec, Ball Healthcare, CMC Steel, Birmingham Fasteners, and Vulcan Painters. These partnerships included industry tours, job interviews, and more.
Ball Healthcare, one of the employer partners, extended job offers to 10 residents. Hiron Spencer, Director of Human Resources at Ball Healthcare, expressed their pleasure in being part of the inaugural program, stating, “We were pleased that they [HABD and Onin] reached out to us for this inaugural program to be an employer partner because they know our need in the workforce, particularly in healthcare.”
Spencer highlighted the constant need for employees with the necessary soft skills for direct patient-care roles and emphasized the program as a perfect opportunity to bridge the gap between those seeking work and employers in need.