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October 6, 2008    DOL Home > CFBCI > Publications > Touching Lives & Communities   

Touching Lives and Communities

Our mission is to empower faith-based and community organizations as they help their neighbors enter, succeed and thrive in the workforce. We target those organizations that are trusted institutions providing valuable services, but may not have had the opportunity to collaborate or partner with government programs. To accomplish our mission, we initiate innovative partnerships between faith-based and community organizations that can address the needs of the most disadvantaged members of our communities, who are often beyond the governments know-how. We educate organizations about local opportunities to collaborate and about opportunities to participate in national grant programs. We eliminate barriers to fair treatment of faith-based and community organizations within the Departments programs, and we educate local government officials and administrators about how they can integrate faith-based and community organizations into service delivery and decision making processes.

"Government has a solemn responsibility to help meet the needs of poor Americans and distressed neighborhoods, but it does not have a monopoly on compassion. America is richly blessed by the diversity and vigor of neighborhood healers: civic, social, charitable, and religious groups. These quiet heroes lift peoples lives in ways that are beyond governments know-how, usually on shoestring budgets, and they heal our nations ills one heart and one act of kindness at a time.

The indispensable and transforming work of faith-based and other charitable service groups must be encouraged.

The paramount goal must be compassionate results, not compassionate intentions. Federal policy should reject the failed formula of towering, distant bureaucracies that too often prize process over performance. We must be outcome-based, insisting on success and steering resources to the effective and to the inspired."

—President George W. Bush
Rallying the Armies of Compassion: President Bush's Blueprint for the Faith-Based and Community Initiative

"In this brochure, you will find valuable information about the projects and initiatives undertaken by the Department of Labor Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to help people in need and create a level playing field for faith-based and community organizations that want to participate in the Department of Labors national grant programs.

Since President Bush established the Center in 2001, the Department of Labor has worked to reduce barriers and create new funding and partnership opportunities for faith-based and community groups. It started with a project to create new partnerships between the Job Corps local organizations mentor programs. Following a competitive grant process, DOL awarded the first federal government grants for the purposes of building links between small faith-based and community groups and the nations premier job training and employment institution, the One-Stop Career Center system. The DOL Center, along with the Employment and Training Administration, the Department of Justice and Public/Private Ventures based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has launched Ready4Work, a faith- and community-based program to assist men and women returning from prison in finding and keeping jobs. The Center has also worked with the Veterans Employment and Training Service to strengthen services for the homeless, the Office of Disability Employment Policy to encourage faith- and community-based mentoring of disabled youth, and the International Labor Affairs Bureau in working with faithbased and community groups throughout the world to reduce trafficking in human persons and fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in East Africa. And, we are just getting started!

I am very proud of the work that the Department of Labor and its Center have done to empower faith-based and community organizations. I congratulate you on your interest in serving Americans and the world through President Bushs Faith- Based and Community Initiative. With your compassion and commitment, we can make a real difference in our country and the world around us."

—Secretary Elaine L. Chao

Outreach and Technical Assistance

The Center for Faith Based and Community Initiatives (CFBCI) conducts outreach to educate faith-based and community organizations about national grant programs as well as local opportunities to collaborate. There are two basic types of federal funding: formula funding, which goes directly to state governments, and discretionary funding, which is competed for and may be awarded to non-profits, businesses, or government agencies. The following Department of Labor agencies and offices regularly release discretionary grants: the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS), Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These agencies list current and past grant opportunities on CFBCIs Web site, CFBCI works with each of these agencies to ensure their grant solicitations are written in a clear manner so that they are accessible to all organizations. Advice on grant-writing is available at

Because at least 85% of DOLs resources for employment and training services are distributed through state and local government, one primary focus of CFBCIs outreach is encouraging collaboration with the nations One- Stop Career Centers. Through materials, presentations, and conferences, CFBCI educates faith-based and community organizations about the resources available. Materials that educate faith-based and community organizations about how to pursue partnerships with local One-Stop Career Centers are available CFCBIs Web site under Faith-Based and Community Information. CFBCI also helps local government administrators and officials within the One-Stop System to conduct outreach to faith-based and community organizations. Materials designed for One-Stop operators and government administrators are available on CFBCIs Web site under Workforce Leader Information.

CFBCI has produced the Touching Lives and Communities Video Training Series. The series provides technical assistance in a number of areas, including strategic planning, board development, private and government funding, and program evaluation. This and all other materials may be ordered or viewed through CFBCIs Web site,

Special Projects and Model Partnerships

Ready4Work Initiative: A Business-Faith- Community-Criminal Justice Partnership (R4W)

The Changing Workforce. Low employee retention. Lack of qualified, skilled labor. Businesses across the country identify these critical issues as motivating factors for considering hiring ex-offenders and other underemployed populations. In its continuing effort to expand our nations workforce and reduce crime and recidivism, the U.S. Department of Labors Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (CFBCI) developed Ready4Work, a three year, $32.5 million national reintegration employment demonstration project in 16 cities across the country. Ready4Works demand-side approach partners with local businesses, faith-based and community organizations, workforce investment boards, and criminal justice agencies to:

  • Meet critical business employment needs by providing qualified, job-ready workers to businesses to curtail anticipated worker shortages and increase employee retention;
  • Provide 5,200 juvenile and adult ex-offenders with job training and placement, voluntary, nonsectarian mentoring and case-management services; and
  • Reduce crime and recidivism by providing the kinds of services and supports that are known to improve returnees likelihood of making healthy attachments to mainstream life, and decreasing their likelihood of engaging in criminal behavior.

Ready4Work forges new territory in meeting the many complex needs of returnees and in identifying successful reintegration into their communities. Ready4Work is jointly funded by DOL, the U.S. Department of Justice, Public/Private Ventures and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

For more information please contact

Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative (PRI)

In his January 2004 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush announced a four-year Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Labor, Justice and Housing and Urban Development. The PRI builds upon the successes of the DOL Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Ready4Work demonstration project. It is designed to strengthen urban communities through an employment-centered program that incorporates housing, mentoring, job training, and other comprehensive transitional services. This program seeks to reduce recidivism by helping non-violent, formerly incarcerated individuals find employment, stable housing and wraparound support services when they return to their communities.

The PRI will draw on the unique strengths of faith-based and community organizations (FBCO) and rely on them as a primary partner for social service delivery to ex-prisoners by providing a direct link into the communities to which they are returning.

Congress has already approved $30 million for the PRI for 2005. In 2006, the Presidents budget includes a $75 million request for expanded resources. Grant awards are expected by Fall 2005

For more information please contact

Job Corps Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) Partnership

Job Corps is one of the Department of Labors most important programs for assisting youth who need job training outside traditional educational and vocational settings. The Departments Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) concluded that Job Corps applicants and participants would benefit from valuable supplementary services offered by faith-based and community organizations (FBCO), but found that Job Corps Centers have frequently lacked effective partnerships with FBCOs.

To address the practical barriers that limited effective collaboration between Job Corp and FBCOs, The Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced a Cooperative Agreement between Public/Private Ventures and Job Corps to implement a mutual referral network between six Job Corps Centers and six FBCOs participating in a National Faith-Based Initiative for High-Risk Youth sponsored by Public/Private Ventures.

These partnerships show promising results:

  • Participating youth with FBCO non-sectarian mentors were able to complete the lengthy Job Corps application process at a significantly higher rate than the national average for Job Corps applicants;
  • New guidelines for expanding partnerships between Job Corps Centers and FBCOs have been published by DOL;
  • New regulations have been implemented to protect the free-exercise of religion by Job Corps students; and
  • Several of the juvenile Ready4Work sites are now linked to Job Corps Centers that participated in the Job Corps pilot.

Touching Lives and Communities: Memphis and Milwaukee

The Touching Lives and Communities Technical Assistance Project is designed to bridge the divide between the local Workforce Investment Boards (WIB) and faith-based and community organizations (FBCO) and provide models for successful interaction between the two. The initiatives goal is three-fold: first, increase access of hard-to reach populations in high-poverty neighborhoods and communities; next, facilitate full partnership between FBCOs, WIBs and One-Stop Career Centers in local economic development strategic planning processes; and finally, develop tools for sharing resources, building new relationships and working toward sustainable partnerships for WIBs and FBCOs.

Through this initiative, DOL CFBCI is helping Workforce Boards around the country replicate practices that will allow them to partner better with FBCOs. The CFBCI, Web page, allows Workforce Boards and non-profit leaders to discuss effective practices designed to transition people to work. In November 2004, USDOL CFBCI hosted a two-week online conference to help facilitate learning among leaders across the country and finding solutions to local issues.

For more information please contact

Grants Targeted at Increasing Partnerships with Faith-Based and Community Organizations.

Beginning in 2002, DOL has sought to help integrate FBCOs in the One-Stop Career Center system. Grants were awarded to states, intermediary organizations, and small FBCOs. The grantees were to accomplish three primary objectives:

  1. Increase the number of faith-based and community organizations serving as committed partners in the One-Stop delivery system;
  2. Expand the access of faith-based and community organizations clients and customers to the services offered by One-Stops; and
  3. Identify, document, showcase, and replicate successful instances of faith-based and community based involvement in system building.

In 2003, grants were awarded to intermediary and grassroots grantees to bring together One-Stop Career Center resources with those of grassroots FBCOs. In 2004 & 2005, more than two million dollars was invested in grants to grassroots organizations.

Finally, in 2004, grants were also awarded to Workforce Investment Boards (WIB) to focus on improving employment opportunities for low-income populations in partnership with FBCOs.

Important Contact Information

White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
The White House
Washington, DC 20502
(202) 456-6708
(202) 456-7019 (fax)

Agency Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Room 4413
Washington, DC 20503
(202) 514-6702
(202) 616-9627 (fax)

U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20210
(202) 693-6450
(202) 693-6146 (fax)

Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave, S.W., Room 120-F
Washington, DC 20201
(202) 358-3595
(202) 401-3463

Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street, S.W., Room 10184
Washington, DC 20410
(202) 708-2404
(202) 708-1160 (fax)

Department of Education
555 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
Capital Place, Suite 410
Washington, DC 20208-8300
(202) 219-1741
(202) 208-1689 (fax)

Department of Agriculture
14th and Independence Avenue, SW
Office of the Secretary, Room 218-A
Washington, DC 20250
(202) 720-3631
(202) 690-2119 (fax)

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20523
(202) 712-4080
(202) 216-3351 (fax)

Corporation for National and Community Service
1201 New York Avenue, NW Suite 800
Washington, DC 20525
(202) 606-5000
(202) 565-2784 (fax)

Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW Suite 5517
Washington, DC 20230
(202) 482-4355
(202) 482-4636 (fax)

Small Business Administration
409 3rd Street, SW
Washington, DC 20416
(202) 205-9037
(202) 481-0334 (fax)

Department of Veteran Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
(202) 273-7499
(202) 273-5716 (fax)

Phone Numbers