The Urban Enterprise Center was created in 1995 to improve the social relations in Seattle after the celebrations dedicated to Martin Luther King two years prior where the offices of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce were stormed and the local citizens made themselves heard. They made clear the abysmal living conditions faced on a daily basis including drugs, extreme poverty, racism, crime and violence as well as heavy unemployment, especially in the Central Area and Rainier Valley, despite Seattle gaining the status of the ‘Most Livable City' awarded by Money. The organization is a three-tiered one working to improve social conditions for all in Seattle and particularly for those in the most destitute regions. It is a non-profit organization working on three levels – Forums on Race, Corporate Job Challenges and business development, in order to strengthen social cohesion and create better chances for minorities, such as better employment prospects. The Forums on Race aim to promote education and eradicate common factors, which cause racism, such as fear.
[...] If ever any more proof was needed of the worthwhile cause that UEC's Forums on Race promotes and the fantastic work they do, they have received numerous accolades such as a special recognition as a Promising Practice by the President's Initiative on Race. They are also recipients of the City of Seattle's Award of Excellence in the domain of non-profit organizations with outstanding leadership and for valuing and managing diversity. The Forums on Race program was also awarded the Northwest Coalition for Human Dignity's Faces of Courage Award 2000 for their work pertaining to breaking down barriers that foster racism. [...]
[...] These two aspects are generally on a larger scale compared with the Community Dinner and Dialogues, which is the third leg of the Forums on Race sector of the UEC promising practice organization. These dinners usually take place in local institutions such as churches and community centers and create opportunities for a more one to one and individual setting for talking about racial issues and ways to work towards a more cohesive society. Due to there not being any guest speakers at the Community Dinner and Dialogues as there are for “It's Time to the individuals are more likely to engage in real discussion amongst themselves. [...]
[...] More minorities and women are employed and entrepreneurs in their own rights, more open-air discussion is taking place throughout the society adults, youngsters, in homes, in churches and so on. Influential people are taking interest and supporting this cause such as the guest speakers and former US Senator Bill Bradley, which helps to bring awareness to the problem and incite action towards real solutions. It is true that the Central Area and Rainier Valley are still relatively poor areas compared to other regions in Seattle. [...]
[...] They work along side companies who share their views on equal opportunities and seeing the injustice in barring access on race discriminating criteria. They aim to work together in order to expand access for those historically excluded as well as create systemic changes such as reducing racial disparities and working towards a discrimination free work environment. The initial challenge was to place 1,000 people in jobs, which are called living-wage jobs, in other words which pay enough for one to keep a decent living. [...]
[...] The Job Retention is committed to providing continual training assistance for employees in order to help them keep their jobs and positions within companies. They specialize in the following areas for assistance: work-based learning; vocational education; wage progression; job skills training; and basic adult education. Both employers and employees may ask for Job Retention and wage progressions support. As the UEC is a non-profit organization, it has no real money of its own to be able to award grants. However, it does its utmost to attract companies and other organizations to donate money in the form of grants. [...]
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