FeedMore WNY’s RISE program helps underemployed community members earn skills, opportunities

Posted: October 7, 2022

The future is bright for the newest graduates of FeedMore WNY’s workforce development program.

The RISE program, which stands for Readying Individuals for Success and Employment, is a free eight-week course for people facing high barriers to employment. Students earn essential skills and credentials for a career in warehouse and logistics. The program also focuses on teaching soft skills, such as how to write a resume, prepare for a job interview, financial literacy and nutrition education.

“I’m pretty proud of myself,” RISE graduate Alexis Loughlin said upon receiving her diploma.

She believes that the knowledge and certifications she gained through the program will lead to new opportunities for her life and career.

FeedMore WNY launched the RISE program in late 2020 as a way to tackle root causes of hunger, such as chronic unemployment and underemployment. Many students enter RISE facing significant challenges, including overcoming substance abuse or past justice involvement.

For RISE graduate Phillip Kowal, who was homeless for nearly four years, the program has been transformational.

“[RISE] has helped a lot,” Kowal said. “Honestly, I can’t wait to see where else it’s going to take me.”

RISE graduates often receive multiple job offers from FeedMore WNY’s employer partners, including Tarantino Foods, Perry’s Ice Cream, Rosina Food Products, Zenner and Ritter, Tesla, Smuckers, DiVal Safety Equipment, and PCB Piezotronics. FeedMore WNY also has hired RISE graduates to add to its stellar warehouse team.

The next cohort of RISE will begin October 24 and run through December 16.

More information on RISE can be found on here on our website, or by contacting SayVette Brice at (716) 822-2005 ext. 3032 or by email at sbrice@feedmorewny.org.

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