One of ULC’s newest tenants is Denver Works, a faith-based nonprofit that assists the lower income population overcome barriers to employment. Founded in 1995, Denver Works has helped over 30,000 individuals ready themselves to enter the job market. Through a variety of programming, training and resources, Denver Works has assisted thousands of previously unemployed job seekers in not only finding a job, but honing the skills necessary to be truly successful in today’s job market.
A part of Denver’s Works’ success lies in their recognition that finding employment is not a simple process. Their mission is not simply in job placement, but in breaking down the many barriers job seekers often face. Denver Works combats these barriers through a professional clothing closet, pre apprenticeship programs, intensive job preparation, leadership training and a range of additional services to ensure job readiness. For the number of people they serve (almost 6,000 have landed jobs through the Career Prep and Placement track), Denver Works has a small staff size.
One of their six employees is Michelle Bueno, the site Director of Metro Denver. Bueno, who has been with the nonprofit for just over five years, oversees the training and programming at the Denver office. In her five years with Denver Works, Bueno has worked with hundreds of job seekers, and enjoys seeing the direct impact her work has on the underserved population here in Denver.
“I really want to help people learn to be truly self-sufficient,” Bueno said. “That is my mission and passion working at Denver Works – I want to help people overcome barriers.”
The nonprofit moved into ULC’s Curtis Park Nonprofit Center on January 1st, and hit the ground running even in the midst of a major office move. After only a few days, their clothing closet was completely assembled and ready for use. Bueno explained that they receive a large amount of donated clothing, which allows them to keep the closet free for their clients. Clothing choices range from professional interview attire to construction uniforms, many of which are sent in unused. While many might viewing clothing as a trivial barrier to successful job placement, it holds significant weight in a person’s confidence and level of preparedness, and is a critical component of Denver Works’ operations.
The largest branch of programming and operations at Denver Works is their pre apprentice construction program. The training takes place over 4 half days, and runs in direct collaboration with the union. Students are certified in flagging, which is a major stepping stone for future employment opportunities. The pre apprenticeship program is recognized federally, and once students graduate the program, they are eligible for future apprenticeship opportunities through the union (at zero cost). Robert Andrews, the Executive Director of Denver Works, explained that with Denver’s major shortage of construction workers, the training program is an excellent way to enter the job market.
“We are fully invested in this program, because we believe construction will be a leading career at helping many people get into the middle class,” Andrews explained.
Urban Land Conservancy is proud to welcome Denver Works to our list of tenants here in Denver. Thank you for your endless efforts in providing job training and placement opportunities to individuals in our city. We look forward to working together in the community this year!