White House Honors the Work of SER Metro-Detroit with "Champions of Change Award"

Top Quote Ms. Garza Dewaelsche is one of sixteen inspirational leaders representing organizations from around the country. Doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. End Quote
  • Detroit, MI (1888PressRelease) July 10, 2014 - SER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc. (SER) President and CEO, Eva Garza Dewaelsche, was honored as a Champion of Change at a White House program on June 30th, 2014, for SER's work to facilitate employment opportunities for individuals formerly involved in the justice system. Sixteen local leaders representing organizations from around the country were selected for this honor out of more than 900 nominations.

    Ms. Garza Dewaelsche, accepted the award on behalf of the work of SER Metro-Detroit, an education and workforce development organization founded more than 43 years ago. SER is a premier workforce development agency that provides job readiness and occupational skills development to low income, unemployed and special populations, including "returning citizens", with the goal of providing them with equal access to gainful employment, career advancement, and social and economic equity. In 2013, SER served more than 2,600 unemployed and underemployed Detroiters with over 30% having some conflict with the judicial system.

    "I am honored to receive this special recognition by the White House for the important work that SER does in the community to change the lives of even the most at risk job seekers", said Garza Dewaelsche in a statement following the program. "SER is dedicated to providing relevant job training and access for all to employment and educational opportunities in today's highly competitive job market."

    According to a White House press release, "the Champions have distinguished themselves through their extraordinary dedication and hard work to help those with criminal records re-enter society with dignity and viable employment opportunities." SER's nomination was a direct result of a recent visit by White House officials from the President's new initiative, "My Brother's Keeper." The visit, arranged by Detroit LISC, included a tour of SER Metro-Detroit's programs and facilities and a presentation by some of SER's program graduates. White House officials were extremely impressed with SER's operations, the quality of their programs and their dedicated staff. They were inspired by the story told by a graduate, who shared how her participation in SER's Center for Working Families helped turn her life around and gave her the second chance she desperately needed after serving time in prison.

    The White House Awards event showcased the 16 inspirational leaders and highlighted the importance of their work and their organizations. The program also featured Attorney General Eric Holder and Piper Kerman, author of the best-selling memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison and inspiration for the comedy-drama series.

    Following the recognition program, Ms. Garza Dewaelsche participated in a panel discussion moderated by John Linton, Director of Office of Correctional Education, U.S. Department of Education. The panel discussion, webcast live by the White House, explored the motivations and success factors which contributed to the positive outcomes achieved by training programs at SER Metro-Detroit and the other featured programs serving returning citizens.

    The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.

    About SER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc.
    SER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc. is a workforce development organization established in 1971 to address the employment and economic inequities of low income and minority communities with barriers, to ensure equal access to gainful employment, career advancement and social and economic equity. SER programs include: literacy and education, youth development, community and economic development, welfare-to-work programs, employability skills training, apprenticeships, training in high demand occupations, and job search and job placement. For more information visit http://www.sermetro.org

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