Lawrence Hall Awarded UTO Grant to Support Workforce Development Initiatives

Lawrence Hall, a legacy partner of Episcopal Charities that works with at-risk youth, has been awarded a $4,720 grant by the United Thank Offering to purchase mobile technology that will support its workforce development initiatives.

Those initiatives, known collectively as Project WORK, moved almost entirely online at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Lawrence Hall staff found itself in need of apps for smartphones and tablets that would allow them to sign documentation, upload images, and manage caseloads more easily and effectively.

The grant will helps sustain the project which “prepare[s] youth, adolescents, and young adults to obtain and then maintain employment by providing job skills development, mentoring, case management, clinical intervention, work experience, career counseling, and subsidized employment,” as Richard Gage, senior development of Lawrence Hall wrote in the organization’s grant application.

Lawrence Hall anticipates serving 450 youth, adolescents, and young adults who are in state care, as well as those involved with the juvenile justice system, out of school, or unemployed, through the program. “Participants range in age from 13 to 26 and have survived a host of traumatic experiences—family disruptions, repeated academic failure, and neighborhood violence,” Gage wrote.

Ninety percent of Project Work participants are Black and 45 percent are female. The majority live in Chicago’s South Shore, Englewood, South Chicago, Greater Grand Crossing, and South Lawndale communities.

“Choosing which grant applications to fund and not fund is always difficult,” UTO Board President Sherri Dietrich said, “but during this extraordinary time of global pandemic suffering, we had to prioritize basic survival needs. We thank all those contributed to the UTO’s Ingathering in 2020 and encourage everyone to give as a way to show gratitude.”

Since its founding in 1889, UTO has awarded 5,384 grants for a total of $141,104,725.30.