Investing in Human Capital
Where does our funding come from?
A major skills gap exists between employer needs and the skill-set of the local workforce. From the economy as a whole to the family living in poverty, the effect of a low-skilled workforce is far reaching in the Paso del Norte region. The local junior college and university has paved a way to bridge this skills gap through their exceptional formal training programs, but the undesirable persistence and graduation rates are narrowing the gap too slowly.
Since Project ARRIBA’s inception in 1999, the innovative workforce program has graduated over 1,250 students from the local junior college and university and has achieved extraordinary persistence and graduation rates for an at-risk student population. These students received the educational, financial, and social support systems needed to succeed. More importantly, they are equipped with the skills needed to fill local employer needs while earning a family-sustaining, living wage. In fact, 2016 job placed graduates are earning, on average, over $48,000 per year, six times increase in earning power! These achievements would have not been possible without the support and generosity of individuals and local businesses.
The El Paso Electric Company
El Paso Electric, a regional electric utility that services west Texas and southern New Mexico, contributes to nonprofit programs and activities that positively impact the well-being of the communities they serve. Primary emphasis is placed on those organizations and programs that: impact the long-term economic vitality of the region; impact the quality and accessibility of education, with a focus on furthering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) related programs and scholarships; and meaningfully impact the quality of life of their customers.
Beginning with a $6,000 investment in 2001, El Paso Electric has now contributed more than $400,000 to Project ARRIBA’s workforce and economic development efforts that lift individuals from poverty into living-wage careers and promotes a higher quality of life in El Paso. This partnership has positively impacted the well-being of over 1,200 El Pasoans that are now equipped with the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to access family sustaining careers.
Private funding such El Paso Electric enables the program to provide the educational, financial, and social supports needed for an underserved population to access, persist in, and graduate with a marketable degree or credential, and, most importantly, be job placed. The underserved population includes, but is not limited to, low-income, minority, first-generation in college, single parents, veterans, and unemployed/underemployed adults living in El Paso County.
The Kenneth P. Gifford Foundation
The Kenneth P. Gifford Foundation of El Paso was established in 1979 in memory of Kenneth P. Gifford, a long-time businessman and bank executive. The foundation’s emphasis lays in helping organizations concerned with the care for the aged and youth in El Paso, Texas. The foundation also supports a scholarship program for students attending college who might not otherwise be able to afford a higher education at El Paso Community College and at the University of Texas at El Paso. The Kenneth P. Gifford Foundation believes in investing in human capital and empowering people with a higher education and the workforce skills needed to be successful. To date, the foundation has invested more than $1.5 million in various nonprofit organizations in El Paso.
The Kenneth P. Gifford Foundation has partnered with Project ARRIBA since 2005 to promote the program’s workforce development efforts in the El Paso region. Their funding, leveraged with other federal, state, and local dollars, has led to over 1,200 El Pasoans being equipped with the skills needed to access high-demand, living-wage careers. Job placed graduates no longer depend on government welfare programs but rather are estimated to add $710 million dollars in income to the local economy. Project ARRIBA provides a great return on investment; in fact, the latest impact study prepared by the Institute for Policy and Economic Development at UTEP revealed that for every dollar invested in the program, $24 is returned to El Paso.
University Presbyterian Church (UPC) is a congregation committed to honoring God by touching lives through worship, fellowship and service. As a part of the Reformed Protestant tradition, their focus is upon ministering to those in the community as well as encouraging the spiritual growth of members. Worship is the cornerstone of their faith, from which comes a warm fellowship and enthusiastic service to others beyond the walls of the church.
UPC was founded downtown in 1903 as Westminster Presbyterian Church of El Paso. In 1950, when the church was relocated near the university the current name was adopted, and in 1973 the congregation moved to its present location. Over the years, UPC has emerged as a congregation that is eager to explore new ideas and opportunities for service. To that endeavor, UPC has invested in Project ARRIBA’s job training efforts that permanently lift El Pasoans out of poverty by empowering them with education and skills needed to gain a quality job. Since 2012, UPC has invested $22,000 to further these efforts.
WestStar Bank is actively involved in many civic organizations and non-profit agencies. They are fully committed to supporting the communities they serve in our region through volunteer service, charitable fund-raising and sponsorships. Many of their members sit as directors on boards, volunteer and/or financially support regional charities. Regardless of their roles, they all share the commitment to serve. It’s a cornerstone of WestStar’s corporate philosophy.
Among the organizations WestStar Bank supports are Candlelighters, Child Crisis Center, Hospice of El Paso, Junior Achievement, El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, YMCA, YWCA, United Way, Cowboys for Cancer Research, Project ARRIBA and many more.
Currently, their employees serve on over 95 boards and committees of nonprofit and civic organizations and participate in a wide range of community betterment efforts and philanthropic causes; this includes Project ARRIBA. Since 2003, WestStar Bank, then Bank of the West, has invested over $81,000 in support of Project ARRIBA’s workforce development efforts and continues to provide leadership to its board of directors.
Caring for their customers and communities is embedded in Wells Fargo’s culture - a culture of working together. Wells Fargo strives to create positive, lasting impact through their operations, business practices, philanthropy, and community engagement. Wells Fargo looks for diverse perspectives to inform their business strategy, strive to strengthen financial knowledge and opportunities for their customers and communities, and are proactive in caring for and improving the environment.
Wells Fargo actively supports the revitalization and growth of the economy through community donations to nonprofits and schools, team member philanthropy and volunteerism, community development loans and investments, environmental initiatives, and other corporate citizenship initiatives. Their first priority is to support programs and organizations whose chief purpose is to benefit low-and moderate-income individuals and families. In 2015, Wells Fargo donated $281.3 million to 16,300 nonprofits.
Since Project ARRIBA’s inception in 1999, Wells Fargo has partnered and invested $257,000 to promote long-term economic growth through job training in the El Paso region. To date, this partnership has led to 1,170 graduates and the establishment of the Jim R. Phillips Endowment Fund. Several Wells Fargo team members have worked and volunteered their time with Project ARRIBA’s Board of Directors.
Wagner-Peyser 7(b) (WPB) grants are federal funds allocated to each State Office of the Governor for grants to fund workforce training and job placement services. WPB grants support workforce training projects leading to job placement, increased wages, and job retention. Grants may also support exemplary projects delivering workforce services in more efficient and innovative ways and services to groups with special needs. On behalf of the Office of the Governor, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is responsible for contract negotiation, implementation, management, and monitoring of contracts.
In 1999, Wagner-Peyser provided Project ARRIBA with its initial startup funding. Under Governor Ann Richards, Wagner Peyser funds were awarded to our sister organization, Project QUEST in San Antonio. Due to QUEST’s track record and the need for an innovative workforce program in the El Paso region, Project ARRIBA applied and was subsequently awarded its first Wagner-Peyser contract. Since then, Wagner-Peyser funding has been instrumental in graduating almost 1,200 at-risks individuals studying at El Paso Community College and at the University of Texas at El Paso. Project ARRIBA has received a total of $4,225,000 in Wagner-Peyser funds since 1999.
Peace Lutheran Church is a member church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and has served El Paso since 1983. Peace Lutheran Church believes all children have the right to a quality education and reaches out to El Paso through their preschool and they partner with Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey in downtown El Paso and with Border Servant Corps. Education is an important part of who they are. They seek to learn as much as they can about who they are and what God is asking them to do as God’s children.
Since 2007, Peace Lutheran Church has partnered with Project ARRIBA to help improve the quality of life for El Pasoans through the attainment of a postsecondary education and further closing the skills gap. Through this continued partnership, financially and through involvement on the board of directors, Project ARRIBA is able to provide the needed educational, financial and social support system needed for an at-risk population to access, persist in, and complete a marketable degree.
El Paso Electric is a regional electric utility providing generation, transmission and distribution service to approximately 400,000 retail and wholesale customers in a 10,000 square mile area of the Rio Grande valley in West Texas and southern New Mexico. El Paso Electric believes that contributing to the communities it serves is an express part of its corporate responsibility, and, as such, it helps to define the El Paso Electric’s purpose and commitment to the El Paso/Las Cruces Region. El Paso Electric actively participates in the community by supporting a diverse mix of civic and charitable programs through its Community Partner Program. Corporate giving is just one way El Paso Electric involves itself and its employees in the community.
El Paso Electric contributes to nonprofit programs and activities that positively impact the well-being of the communities they serve. Primary emphasis is placed on those organizations and programs that: impact the long-term economic vitality of our region; impact the quality and accessibility of education, with a focus on furthering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) related programs and scholarships; and meaningfully impact the quality of life of our customers. El Paso Electric has been actively involved with Project ARRIBA since 2001, both through financial contributions and through employee involvement with the program’s board of directors, working together to promote the quality of life for El Pasoans through job training that leads to meaningful employment. El Paso Electric has invested nearly $400,000 to support these efforts.
Through the tireless efforts of Project ARRIBA’s civic engagement partners (Industrial Areas Foundation, El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization and Border Interfaith) Project ARRIBA was awarded $500,000 in ACE program funds in 2014 to support approximately 300 at-risk El Pasoans to access, persist, and complete their postsecondary education at El Paso Community College over the course of 15 months. Upon demonstrating increased persistence, completion and job placements rates in the 2014/2015 ACE grant compared to those of the local junior college, Project ARRIBA qualified for another allocation of state funding in the amount of $575,000. Awarded in 2015, the grant provides the necessary funding to train over 300 El Pasoans at the local junior college over a two-year period.
The ACE Program provides grants to eligible nonprofit workforce intermediary and job training organizations to develop, support, or expand programs that prepare low-income students to enter careers in high-demand and significantly higher-earning occupations. The governing board of Austin Community College serves as the grant administrator.
Texas Gas Service makes significant cash contributions to charitable organizations and public schools in communities they service. Since 2004, Texas Gas Service has invested in efforts that enhance the quality of life and economic well-being for the people of El Paso. In addition to the financial support, Texas Gas Service employees provide volunteer support to many charitable organizations and events. Company executives and employees serve on boards and committees for dozens of non-profit agencies, such as Project ARRIBA. In the spring of 2016, Texas Gas Service invested $25,000 in support of Project ARRIBA’s workforce training and job placement efforts. Texas Gas Service is a division of ONE Gas, Inc., a natural gas distribution company and the successor to the company founded in 1906 as Oklahoma Natural Gas Company, which became ONEOK, Inc. in 1980.
The El Paso Community Foundation (EPCF) was established in 1977 as a permanent endowment for the long term benefit of the El Paso region, far West Texas, Southern New Mexico and Northern Chihuahua, Mexico. EPCF serves as a charitable resource to donors, nonprofit organizations and the community at-large and is the region’s most trusted philanthropic advisor. Since 2001, EPCF has invested in Project ARRIBA’s workforce development efforts through various funding sources that included Cardwell, Burkitt, and Stern Foundations and Robert D. Earp. In total, EPCF has invested over $115,000 to improve the quality of life for El Pasoans through Project ARRIBA’s long-term job training initiative.
AJ’s Uniforms has served the El Paso community since 1999 by providing a large array of uniforms, instruments, and accessories to professionals and students alike. Owners Elena and David Rajme are committed to offering quality products at competitive prices while staying in tune to its customer’s needs and wants. A trusted partner over the last 15 years, AJ’s Uniforms has outfitted Project ARRIBA’s healthcare participants with the required medical uniforms. The Rajme’s have invested $4,600 in support of Project ARRIBA’s workforce development efforts to further propel students in training.
Project ARRIBA’s mission aligns closely with JP Morgan Chase’s philanthropic initiative of closing the skills gap between the needs of employers and the workforce. Since 1999, JPMorgan Chase has invested over $327,000 in Project ARRIBA as the program equips an at-risk population with the skills needed to access high-skilled careers in the El Paso region. For two years running, JPMorgan Chase has served as Project ARRIBA’s exclusive sponsor at its annual fundraiser and dinner. Over $60,000 was raised from these two events.
Bank of America invested $40,000 in in Project ARRIBA’s workforce development efforts in 2014. Bank of America has supported the program since its inception in 1999 and with their support through the years Project ARRIBA has graduated 1,060 at-risk individuals in high-demand occupations in our region.
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation provides philanthropic support to address needs vital to the health of the communities they serve. Connecting individuals to employment opportunities is a key component contributing to each community’s economic growth. Bank of America invests in the workforce by connecting individuals, through community college, career programming and entrepreneurship to the skills needed to succeed in 21st century jobs, emphasizing those with skills mismatch. This continued partnership with Bank of America has allowed Project ARRIBA to provide the financial, educational, and social support systems needed for at-risk El Pasoans to achieve a higher education, and ultimately, a family-sustaining living wage job.