Austin’s Quality of Life Plan, called Austin Forward. Together (AFT)is a set of goals created by and for the community designed to respond to 23 strategies with 84 actions in total in 7 areas between 2019 and 2024: community narrative, education, housing, youth empowerment, economic development, public safety and civic engagement .
Today, there are over 45 dedicated volunteer members in seven working groups, one for each area. In partnership with ACT, these working groups have engaged over 70 unique organizations as implementing partners and together have initiated over 40% of the plan’s total actions to date!
One of the many ways ACT helps catalyze local development is by attracting investment to the Austin community as a whole. To this end, ACT has secured funding from several sources who wish to support BACK.
In 2018, ACT’s ability to apply community-driven solutions to foster economic opportunity resulted in a $1 million Vital Communities grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Part of this investment was used to support the necessary infrastructure and the rest was allocated to core ACT members implementing the activities of the plan.
We are proud to announce that these nine organizations have been selected for this latest funding round, for which total funds of $150,131 will be distributed.
The goal of the Economic Development Task Force is to create economic revitalization in Austin and through Austin. We will support new and existing local businesses, entrepreneurs and the workforce; improving our trade corridors; and attract new investment to build a stronger and more vibrant local economy.
FUNDED ACTION: Develop and support local resources such as bootcamps and apprenticeships in high-demand economic sectors.
$12,500 will support new moms‘ job training and employment readiness program that includes career planning and coaching on critical life and parenting topics for unemployed young women ages 16-24 in Austin, many of whom are homeless or have dropped out of school. The program has been in place since 1996 and over the past 5 years has placed 378 young mothers in permanent employment, 57% of whom have kept a job for more than 12 months and 70% have increased their level of education during their registration.
$16,891 will be allocated to Manufacturing Renaissance (MR) for their Young Manufacturers Association Career Path Services program which provides ten weeks of technical training and career development for Austin residents ages 18-29 to begin paid careers in high-demand manufacturing . Participants also receive training in professionalism, job interview coordination and placement, job retention supports and on-the-job coaching.
FUNDED ACTION: Build a new manufacturing training center in Austin
$14,000 will help Jane Addams Resource Society (JARC) continue their manufacturing training program. JARC’s training in welding and computer numerical controls means that more residents, many of whom are involved in the justice system or live with housing insecurity, can increase their ability to provide for their families and invest in their community.
The goal of the Public Safety Task Force is to collaborate and create programs that increase feelings of safety, community and quality of life to build a healthy and resilient neighborhood.
FUNDED ACTION: Increase restorative justice activities in the community.
$22,500 will allow BUILD Inc. to make more restorative justice (RJ) activities available to Austin. Creating a greater sense of community among residents will mitigate conflict, address injustice and trauma, deter crime and violence, and generate resident acceptance of restorative justice, a philosophy that focuses on righting wrongs with a value placed on empathy, learning, collaboration, mediation, and the ability to have courageous conversations. The funds will also help recruit and train youth, residents and community partners as community restorative justice ambassadors/champions and circle keepers.
FUNDED ACTION: Engage and connect neighbors.
$16,500 will allow the Chicago Institute for Nonviolence and Hope Community Church to expand their public safety work. The funds will help train residents in the principles and steps of nonviolence to better prepare them for peacekeeping activities and build relationships with street workers and high-risk people, encouraging a greater greater intergenerational social cohesion and helping to break the cycle of violence.
The Education Task Force’s goal is for our local education system and partners to provide the services, opportunities, and support needed to help all of our students stay on track, enrich their education, and meet their their needs, from early childhood to high school, including employment and career. preperation.
FUNDED ACTION: Improve the early learning environment in Austin by helping providers become credentialed and prepare more deeply for child development.
$20,000 will help Austin Child Care Provider Network providing academic support to ten early childhood professionals as they pursue higher education to become eligible for child care credentials.
The goal of the Community Narrative Task Force is to revitalize the image and spirit of Austin by promoting assets such as our historic dwellings, creating a healthy community, and creating a stronger environment for the arts and the local culture.
FUNDED ACTION: Create a sense of belonging to the community through activities such as the creation and maintenance of community gardens.
$16,740 will fund South Austin Neighborhood Association (SANA)the Veterans’ Peace Garden; monthly meetings of the Austin Veterans Community Organization; the farm-to-table summer program; and the Austin Garden Collective. SANA helps create and sustain environments that promote health and well-being through events that engage residents in safe green spaces.
FUNDED ACTION: Bridging the gap between residents’ experiences and how they are reflected in the media.
$16,000 will support the expansion of the Austin Has the Mic (AHTM) training program, a collaboration between Westside Health Authority and BUILD. AHTM will teach 20 Austin youth the basics of broadcasting, videography, photography and journalism to cultivate strong relationships and amplify resident voices through multiple mass media platforms. The program empowers youth to run social media campaigns that include a weekly podcast to promote and discuss issues such as social injustice in Austin.
The goal of the Youth Empowerment Task Force is for Austin to have healthier, more engaged young people who are able to reach their full potential.
FUNDED ACTION: Create pathways for youth interactions with mentors and role models.
$15,000 will support staffing for Services St. Joseph Youth Mentoring Program at St. Angela Catholic School, which provides a safe mentoring environment to teach youth the life-saving, social, and emotional skills needed to deal with trauma, resolve conflict peacefully, and maintain positive behaviors. Additionally, successful Austin professionals are invited as guest speakers to inspire young people.