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National Grant Grows Future Workforce for Small Businesses

Rockefeller Foundation Invests in Local, Disadvantaged Youth

January 13, 2015

For more information, contact:
Valerie Cunningham, 503.552.6754 | 

Portland, Ore. – The New York-based Rockefeller Foundation offered support to the Portland Business Alliance to help small businesses recruit and train young, local talent who lack resources to develop relevant job skills. Through this grant, small businesses can learn how to offer employment-based skill training programs as a new way to cultivate the very best future employees. In turn, area youth recruited into the programs will learn valuable, marketable skills while earning a living wage. 
“We’re proud to support small businesses in their efforts to hire and train youth — particularly those who are too often overlooked or undervalued,” said John Irons, managing director for Global Markets at the Rockefeller Foundation. “We’ve seen that young people can deliver real business value to companies and look forward to seeing the Northwest’s business community grow and thrive by replicating or adapting innovative practices.”
With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, Portland Business Alliance will host a Forum Breakfast event, February 18, 2015, in downtown Portland. The grant also will fund a small business advisory program that teaches businesses how to adapt innovative new job training tools into their own talent recruitment efforts.   
“Small businesses make up a large part of the Portland economy as well as the Alliance’s membership,” said Sandra McDonough, CEO and President of the Portland Business Alliance. “The Rockefeller Foundation grant strengthens our community, while enabling our mission to grow private-sector jobs, provide quality educational resources to residents, and spur economic vitality in the region.”
The Alliance will implement these programs in partnership with the Portland Community College Small Business Development Center, the Small Business Administration, SCORE, Mercy Corps, Portland State University, and other chambers of commerce and business associations.
The Portland Business Alliance
The Portland Business Alliance is Greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce. With more than 1,800 members, the Alliance strives to promote and foster an environment in the Portland region that attracts, supports and retains private-sector jobs, spurs economic vitality and enables quality educational opportunities for the region's residents. Learn more at