Gov. Rick Snyder today praised a partnership between St. Luke N.E.W. Life Ministries, Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation that will place structurally unemployed Flint residents into full time employment through the state's Community Ventures program.
"This public-private partnership demonstrates a steadfast commitment to our common goal of providing stable job opportunities for our citizens while meeting a talent need for employers," Snyder said. "We should all applaud Diplomat Pharmacy, St. Luke N.E.W. Life Ministries and MEDC for their work to create a stronger, safer and more stable community with more and better jobs those who live here."
St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center, a faith-based, three-year program that incorporates education and workplace training to assist unemployed women to become self-sufficient, will receive $800,000 in Community Ventures funds to hire and provide support services for 100 structurally unemployed women from the Flint area.
Launched in 2012 by MEDC, Community Ventures helps structurally unemployed individuals pursue career opportunities at Michigan companies. The program connects pre-screened unemployed residents of targeted distressed communities with companies willing to hire them and provide them with long-term sustainable employment opportunities in full time positions.
Flint-based Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy has committed $50,000 in start-up funds to St. Luke's sewing training, which offers participants the opportunity to apply for a job producing scrubs, hospital gowns and other merchandise in the program's N.E.W. Life Enterprises.
"As I became more involved with St. Luke N.E.W. Life Enterprises, I was impressed by the grassroots success this organization experienced with minimal resources," said Phil Hagerman, CEO of Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy. "We knew the program could become a viable business model if it had additional direction and business support. Today, we are pleased to now have the State's commitment through the MEDC to expand business and employment at N.E.W. Life."
Working with Shaltz Automation, Landaal Packaging and Flint physician Nita Kulkarni, M.D., and with support from Genesys, Hurley and McLaren medical centers, Hagerman formed the St. Luke Business Advisory Council. The council provides St. Luke with operational support, generating sales of the merchandise and assisting with marketing the products and the program.
"This partnership is a precisely what Community Ventures was meant to do, which is provide career pathways for the structurally unemployed while also improving public safety and growing the economy in our most challenged urban centers," said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. "St. Luke N.E.W. Life Ministries and Diplomat Pharmacy, and their private sector partners, deserve our thanks and admiration for this investment, collaboration and commitment to Flint and its most underserved residents."