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Issue 1561 November 25, 2012
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Jeff Little is one of more than 3,500 Michigan residents who found long-term employment through the Community Ventures program. Credit Courtesy of

SAGINAW CRIME DOWN: State's Community Ventures Great Success

Program Results in Savings of $2.2 Million in Welfare

October 7, 2018       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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The state's Community Ventures program is credited with reducing violent crime and unemployment in the Saginaw area, where violent crime has been reduced by 74 percent since 2017 and unemployment has gone from 16 to 10.1 percent.

The Community Ventures program helps people who are structurally unemployed get back to work, has received national recognition from the International Economic Development Council, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announced. Calley and Saginaw Future, Inc. accepted the Gold Excellence in Economic Development award in the equity and inclusion category at the IEDC annual conference in Atlanta last week.

"Community Ventures creates second chances for people who likely thought they'd never be able to have a career," Calley said. "This program is changing lives and improving communities across our state and we couldn't be prouder of its success."

Gov. Rick Snyder created Community Ventures in 2013. It is a public-private partnership providing support and resources to participants, including a success coach that helps from job placement through at least one year of employment.

Community Ventures provides incentives to employers and employees. For about $6,500 per job, Community Ventures has placed more than 3,500 structurally unemployed workers.

Major components of the CV effort are partnerships with large urban organizations and their purchasing functions to identify opportunities for local suppliers. For instance, if a Detroit hospital is willing to have laundry services done locally these business services could help support or launch companies providing jobs to poverty-stricken populations. If you are interested in participating as an employer or a community-based partner organization please contact Community Ventures.

Community Ventures will adopt the best ideas and systems from the private sector to launch innovative local ventures that transform communities and provide real jobs for low-income people. Through leveraging public and private resources and coordinating efforts among partners this program will stabilize neighborhoods, reduce crime and provide a path out of poverty for those who have endured hard times for too long.

Saginaw Future applied for the economic development award on behalf of the Saginaw area, touting the impressive progress of the program where more than 2,000 participants have been placed in full-time jobs at 24 different businesses.

Job sectors with new employees include manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and customer service. The program is run by the Michigan Talent Investment Agency in partnership with the 16 Michigan Works! Agencies across the state.

The program focuses on people with extended joblessness, low income, disability, limited education, or past incarceration.

The goal is to place 1,000 structurally unemployed into stable jobs every year.

To get there, the Community Ventures Team works cooperatively with local community and talent partners like Goodwill Industries, Jewish Vocational Services (JVS), Michigan Department of Human Services, Saginaw Business and Education Partnership, Detroit Employment Solutions, and others to find and screen eligible candidates.

A connection is then made with participating employers, recruited by Community Ventures and MEDC, who commit to providing full-time (at least 30 hours) long-term positions that pay living wages. In order to minimize the hiring risk, businesses receive a stipend for each participant to pay for on-the-job training.

As part of the program, local partners provide extensive post-employment support services like job coaching, transportation, workforce readiness, child care, and adult education, depending on each participant's needs.

"We've been a partner with the state of Michigan since the Governor launched the program," said Saginaw Future President JoAnn Crary. "It has been tremendously successful in Saginaw, resulting in meaningful employment and a dramatic decrease in crime. The program has addressed key barriers to employment while providing access to wraparound services that ensure greater success."

Participants who have kept their jobs for one year or more have been able to support themselves resulting in a savings of $2.2 million in public assistance benefits, according to a study done by the Michigan Office of Performance and Transformation.

Community Ventures operates statewide and has helped more than 6,600 Michiganders secure employment opportunities since its creation. For more information visit

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
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