United Way of Medina County Unveils Programming with Major Grant from Westfield Insurance Foundation

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Westfield Center, Ohio, February 23, 2015 - United Way of Medina County is unveiling Employing Medina County (EMC), a program designed to provide families and individuals with sustainable employment through a network of services. Services ranging from stabilization, skill development to employability are provided through service coordination plans developed for each EMC participant. There are five sites in Medina County serving as entry points for service coordination. Employing Medina County’s goal is to break the barriers that inhibit underemployed and unemployed individuals from sustainable and long-term employment.

United Way of Medina County is unveiling Employing Medina County (EMC), a program designed to provide families and individuals with sustainable employment through a network of services. Services ranging from stabilization, skill development to employability are provided through service coordination plans developed for each EMC participant. There are five sites in Medina County serving as entry points for service coordination. Employing Medina County’s goal is to break the barriers that inhibit underemployed and unemployed individuals from sustainable and long-term employment.

The vision of Employing Medina County was brought to reality with a generous grant from the Westfield Insurance Foundation. Westfield donated $150,000 to EMC over a three-year timeframe. "Stabilizing families by connecting housing, education and workforce programs is a concept to which Westfield is committed," said Jim Clay, Westfield Chairman and CEO. "Our community needs new ideas and collaborations to see significant change in this area. We hope other businesses join us in supporting this innovative solution to creating long-term family stability."

A number of Lead Support Agencies are assisting EMC participants with basic needs from legal matters, childcare, transportation, rent/mortgage assistance to attaining a GED to eliminate the barriers often faced by underemployed and unemployed individuals.

Executive Director at United Way of Medina County, Seth Kujat states, "It is important that all individuals and families have basic needs met. We are driving change through strategic partnerships with over a dozen local organizations to not only provide stability for families, but also sustainability through employment opportunities."

United Way of Medina County has hired Mike Kobylka to serve as program manager for Employing Medina County. Kobylka is working with the service coordination sites, lead support agencies and employers to bridge the services needed by the underemployed and unemployed population with employers who are facing difficulty filling unmet labor needs.

United Way of Medina County recently formed a partnership with Medina County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) to create the Workforce Alliance of Medina County. The Workforce Alliance will utilize its unique ability to convene the Medina County business community to provide access to a pool of skilled candidates. It will also provide career exploration and pathways for the County’s future workforce. While in its infancy, the Workforce Alliance is a visionary and future-oriented entity combining the strengths and goals of organizations and businesses throughout Medina County. Kobylka will serve as the Executive Director of the Workforce Alliance.

MCEDC’s Executive Director Bethany Dentler said, "The Workforce Alliance is a collaborative effort being led by the private sector to help deal with the increasing difficulty faced by the county’s businesses to recruit and retain employees as a result of an aging workforce. By strengthening the labor pool, we will be able to ensure the long-term stability and health of our local economy."

Kujat stated, "With the generous award from Westfield Insurance Foundation and our many donors we are able to strategically address the greatest needs in Medina County and develop programming in Community Impact areas such as Employing Medina County. With the collaborative spirit of county residents, businesses and organizations United Way of Medina County continues to serve as a catalyst for addressing these needs and serving our county’s residents."

About United Way of Medina County
United Way of Medina County has been serving the local community for more than 80 years. As the largest nonprofit, private-sector funder of health and human services in the county, United Way of Medina County works year-round to advance the common good. The organization focuses on creating opportunities and promoting self-sufficiency - by investing in health and human services programming in three targeted areas: Early Childhood Development, Youth Engagement, and Income Stability. United Way of Medina County is investing in these areas as they have been identified as the most pressing needs in our County. When children are prepared for school, youth have support systems in their lives and families are financially self-sufficient everyone wins! For more information, visit www.unitedwaymedina.org.

About Medina County Economic Development Corporation
The Medina County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) is a public/private non-profit organization that has been managing the economic growth of Medina County through business attraction, retention and entrepreneurship support since 1986. With membership composed of private companies, governments and education partners, MCEDC’s stakeholders take a proactive stance to positively impact the economic vitality of the county and the region. For more information, visit www.medinacounty.org or call 330-722-9215.

About Westfield Insurance
Westfield Insurance is a part of Westfield Group, a customer-focused insurance and banking group of businesses headquartered in Westfield Center, Ohio and in business for more than 167 years. Westfield Insurance provides commercial insurance in 21 states, personal insurance in 10 states and surety services to customers in 50 states. Westfield is one of the nation’s 50 largest property and casualty insurance groups, represented by a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agencies. Westfield Insurance was named to the 2014 Ward’s 50 list of top performing insurance companies and as a Top Workplace in Northeast Ohio. Westfield Bank provides banking solutions for businesses and individuals, and Westfield Services provides service and training support for independent insurance agencies. Learn more about Westfield Group at www.WestfieldInsurance.com and www.Westfield-Bank.com.



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