Every day, thousands living in poverty in Dane County search for family-sustaining job opportunities while local employers are on a search of their own, looking for qualified candidates to add to their team. To better connect these two, United Way created the HIRE Initiative.

HIRE brings together several of United Way’s nonprofit partners with local businesses to collaborate on the best ways to find, educate and train job seekers, so they can become strong candidates for job openings at local businesses.

United Way’s HIRE Initiative brought together Latino Academy of Workforce Development and Stevens Construction Corp. to change the lives of eight men working toward a career in the construction industry. In 2015, there were 971 new participants in HIRE’s employment training classes.

Watch the video above to see this HIRE partnership in action!

Companies like Stevens Construction Corp. and American Family Insurance are part of HIRE’s Employer Council. Members of the Employer Council pledge to recruit and hire people who live in poverty with the intent to train and retain employees who otherwise may not have been considered for hiring.

“Last year, we picked up lot of steam to get partnerships established and to create education across both employers and nonprofit agencies,” said Rosemary U’Ren, Human Resources Director at American Family Insurance. “It was a good transparent discussion. Now, agencies can tailor their programs to some of the needs that employers brought up.”

United Way will host a HIRE Summit in January 2017 for local employers who want to learn more about HIRE or join HIRE’s Employer Council. Around 30 employers are members of the Council and the summit aims to reach more companies.

“This summit will deepen the awareness about the community HIRE is trying to serve,” said U’Ren. “It’s a great thing to be a part of and just think of the hundreds of employers across Dane County that we really haven’t tapped into yet.”

To learn more about HIRE, visit HIREinDane.com.