General Motors is helping to lift Americans out of homelessness and into the working world through its support of a Detroit-based charity called The Empowerment Plan.
According to The Detroit Free Press, GM has donated more than $1 million to The Empowerment Plan’s workforce development program, which hires homeless parents to make coats for other homeless individuals. The coats are waterproof, can withstand subzero temperatures and also double as sleeping bags and an over-the-shoulder bag for the summer.
The Empowerment Plan pays workers $12.50 an hour on average, with employees offered a 40-hour workweek. The charity has donated 50,000 coats to homeless people in the United States and other parts of the world since 2011, according to the Free Press, and has hired more than 90 individuals. The majority of employees will work for the charity for about two years before moving on to a different career, founder Veronika Scott told the newspaper. Those who work for the charity also have access to grants for a car or house as well as financial health and wellness counseling.
GM holds a place on the board of directors for the charity and helps manage its operations. This may enable it to take its homeless outreach initiatives a step further going forward, with the automaker potentially looking to hire homeless individuals from The Empowerment Plan to sew material for its car interiors at its manufacturing facilities.
“One thing we’ve been exploring is the pipeline needs at GM, the places where people might have needs,” Genna Young, manager of Detroit Community Partnerships at General Motors, told the Free Press.
GM will provide The Empowerment Plan with a handful of Chevy Tahoe and Chevy Suburban SUVs this week, which it will use to deliver more than 700 coats to nonprofit organizations located in the Northeast and Midwest. Chevy also worked with the charity to deliver more than 50 coats to individuals located in the Detroit area on Monday – just as the northeast and midwest got hit with an icy winter snowstorm.
Check out the video embedded below to learn more about this GM-backed homeless outreach program.