OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
We have learned alongside our Community Partners as they have faced challenges, overcome barriers, and achieved extraordinary successes. Find out more about each project and the outcomes below.
Ben & Jerry’s Partnershop School for Scoops Youth Training Program
LifeWorks transitions youth and families from crisis to safety to success. In partnership with the Ben & Jerry’s PartnerShop initiative, LifeWorks owns and operates a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop at the corner of 5th and Lamar in downtown Austin. The shop provides initial job training, a positive first-time employment experience and graduates at-risk youth to career-oriented jobs, career training programs and higher education.
Impact Austin’s grant provides funding, during the first two years of operation, for salaries, training materials and scholarships. Profits from the PartnerShop go toward continuing the training program when the Impact Austin grant terminates.
LifeWorks deemed the School for Scoops an effective work force program for a large portion of their clients. During the grant period, 65 youths were positively impacted, improving their job skills by 15%, customer service skills by 18%, and social skills by 12%. LifeWorks projected that 80 clients would graduate from the School for Scoops but, consistent with many of their programs, some clients needed to leave for a while and then re-enter the program. LifeWorks has found that their philosophy of allowing clients to circle back is effective in the long run for achieving results but in this case it reduced the actual number of people served during the grant period.
After a four-year run as a successful job training program, LifeWorks closed the Ben and Jerry’s Partnershop in January, 2009, to make way for new ventures that can prepare more of their clients for the workforce. LifeWorks is evaluating a replacement program with Austin Java which would offer the advantages of a local partner with on-premise work only, avoiding the additional costs incurred by the off-premise catering aspect of the PartnerShop program. This new program would also be more suitable for a broader spectrum of their clients, such as adults needing a living wage to support their children.
In addition to the direct benefit to LifeWorks’ clients, the Ben & Jerry’s program contributed significantly to the community’s awareness of LifeWorks’ mission and the challenges faced by youth transitioning into adulthood from foster care or homelessness.