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$8.4 Million EDA Good Jobs Challenge Grant Awarded to Charleston Metro Chamber, E3 Foundation and Roper St. Francis Healthcare

The Charleston Chamber Foundation, through the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, along with Educate, Empower and Elevate Foundation (E3) and Roper St. Francis Healthcare have been selected to receive an $8.4 million grant through the Good Jobs Challenge funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. This project is one of 32 Good Jobs Challenge grantees, from a competitive pool of 509 applicants, to receive funding.  

The Good Jobs Challenge, administered by the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, brings together employers who have hiring needs with other key entities to provide in demand skills training that leads to good-paying jobs and jobs that lead to better economic mobility for historically marginalized communities. Through the grant, the Chamber, E3 and Roper St. Francis will ignite inclusive and equitable workforce growth within the healthcare industry. 

“The Good Jobs Challenge grant is a transformational opportunity for our community to create career pathways offering upward mobility for our region’s underserved populations,” said Bryan Derreberry, Charleston Metro Chamber President and CEO. “Working alongside E3 and Roper St. Francis will ensure our efforts are equity-centered and are meeting the demands of one of our most important sectors, healthcare.” 

Through the grant, the three partners will develop the Lowcountry Careers Collaborative in Healthcare, an equity-centered, employer-led approach that builds upon existing regional training systems to offer pathways to higher level careers. This will be accomplished by: 

  • Empowering underserved populations to seek opportunities in promising sectors 
  • Collaborating across sectors to address skills gaps identified by employers  
  • Addressing workforce barriers within our community and with employers that have prevented inclusive work environments and equitable growth for all community members
  • Improving access to training for communities of color that will enhance pathways to high-earning potential jobs in healthcare, simultaneously boosting representative healthcare options  
  • Delivering thoughtful integrative services 

“We believe that the Lowcountry Healthcare Careers Collaborative could be a blueprint for how we increase the family wages of traditionally marginalized communities,” said LaTisha Vaughn, E3 Chief Programs Officer. “We are not just working on getting people ready for jobs; we are also working on making sure employers are ready for all members of the Charleston community in their work environments.”

Efforts will initially focus on the healthcare sector; however, the infrastructure is being established to add on additional sectors in the future.

Healthcare is a vital and important industry for our community. Earnings per job in healthcare in our region average $73,993, a wage 66% higher than the median household income for African American families in 2019. Of healthcare postings in 2021, 82% did not list a requirement for a bachelor’s degree. This signals a significant opportunity for targeted engagement of individuals without a college degree.

“At Roper St. Francis Healthcare, we want our teammates to be a reflection of our greater community. We are thrilled to partner in this meaningful effort to create more career pathways for residents in underserved communities because we know we are our best together,” said Dr. Michael Moxley, Vice President and Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity Officer at Roper St. Francis Healthcare. “As coworkers and healthcare providers, we must be committed to not only embracing our differences but pursuing them for perspective. This is central to carrying out our mission of ‘healing all people with compassion, faith and excellence’ and making our communities stronger.”

The Lowcountry Careers Collaborative in Healthcare is designed to bridge historic gaps in employment representation by training a diverse coalition of healthcare workers. Partnering with E3 will ensure the program is inclusive to populations that have historically been excluded from accessing quality career pathways in the local healthcare industry. Roper St. Francis will serve as the leading employer and backbone organization to identify real skills needs and facilitate job placements.

“By integrating industry in every step of the talent development process, these awardees are focused on supporting underserved communities in diverse areas across the country, helping to remove systemic barriers for workers and connecting employers with the trained workforce they need to grow and sustain competitive local economies,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Castillo.

The Good Jobs Challenge is part of a suite of  American Rescue Plan programs  developed by EDA to equitably distribute its $3 billion allocation to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build a better America by accelerating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building more resilient, shockproof local economies. 

Charleston Metro Chamber Media Contact:  

Erin Aylor, SVP of Marketing 
eaylor@charlestonchamber.org | 843.805.3053 

E3 Media Contact: 

Tonita Perry, APR, Principal/Chief PR/Marketing Communications Strategist
tperry@eaddyperry.com | 704.965.6956

Roper St. Francis Healthcare Media Contact:

Andy Lyons, Director of Corporate Communications & Content Strategy 
Andy.lyons@rsfh.com | 843.958.1272 

About the Charleston Metro Chamber: With approximately 1,600 member organizations representing 160,000 professionals, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce serves as the collective voice of the business community, and a catalyst for regional economic advancement and member success through Talent, Advocacy, Leadership and Business Development. Visit charlestonchamber.org.

About Educate, Empower and Elevate Foundation (E3): E3: Educate, Empower, Elevate Foundation, is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to ensure those most impacted by inequities are educated, empowered, and elevated to exercise their agency collectively in the South. E3 works to educate Black and Brown families through culturally competent, relevant, and sustainable engagement, to empower through the coalition building of Black and Brown led-organizations, leaders, educators, children, and families, and to elevate Black and Brown communities to act in their power and purpose. E3’s guiding principle is that those most impacted by systemic inequities – people of color – must be at the center of all decision-making. It is not only their North Star but is fundamental to their approach. E3 Founding Partners are Black women, with 55 years of collective cross-sector experience, who are competent, committed, community-minded, and have experience across sectors including non-profit, advocacy, corporates, and public education. They provide a voice to those closest to the problem and most impacted.

About Roper St. Francis Healthcare: As the area’s only private not-for-profit healthcare system, Roper St. Francis Healthcare chooses purpose over profits by putting our extra money back into our system to help meet the health needs of our community. The largest healthcare system features four flagship hospitals: Roper Hospital, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital, Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital and Roper St. Francis Berkeley Hospital. In an emergency, the healthcare system offers six strategically placed ERs. With roughly 6,000 teammates, RSFH is the Lowcountry’s largest private employer with nearly 1,000 doctors representing almost every medical specialty. RSFH’s 657-bed system consists of 117+ facilities and services across five counties.

Posted on
August 8th 2022
Written by
Erin Aylor