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Unifying America: Non-Profit Provides Support For Low-Income Workers Looking To Switch Careers

BOSTON (CBS) -- A non-profit is offering training and a promise to those trying to enter the workforce in a new career as the pandemic-related unemployment begins to recover.

Thirty-five-year-old Jeovanny Tovar of Dorchester is a father of three. In 2020, he hit a rough spot when he lost his job during the pandemic as a fitness instructor.

"I hit a low point and almost depression. I hit a wall and I am looking at my kids and saying how can I show them my worth," Tovar said. "I really didn't know what I was going to do or what the future looked like."

Then he was introduced to Social Finance, an impact investing non-profit that aims to help low-income people to get the proper training and skills they need for in-demand jobs.

"Yes, we have bad unemployment. There's still six-million job openings across the country. More than half are good jobs with decent pay. But how do you get people who have been shut of the system, get the skills to participate in the economy," said CEO and co-founder of Social Finance Tracy Palandjian.

Social Finance has four different training programs: three in technology disciplines, and one in diesel mechanic technician training. They focus primarily on communities of color.

"They are the first to suffer and last to recover," said Palandjain. "We decided to target low-income people. And low and behold when we do that, we're seeing that more than half of our participants in this 1,000 person program with general assembly, is actually Black and brown. So you really how this tool is unlocking access for these folks."

Thanks to its Career Impact Bonds, students enroll for free and get wrap-around support they need to graduate. Those who are in the program actually sign a student bill of rights that says after the program, if they don't land a job making more than $40,000 a year, they don't have to pay back the money they received from the Career Impact Bond.

"If I can get this leg up, I have no problem paying it back so the next person in my shoes can get this same thing," said Tovar. He just graduated and is excited about what his future holds.

"I would like to work in a tech industry, a company which is giving me that opportunity to work," Tovar said.

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