From the City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services: "City of Chicago Announces $3.75 Million in Stimulus Funding to Provide Jobs and Job Training for Hard-To-Employ Populations (July 23, 2009) -- The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services has announced plans to utilize $3.75 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the Neighborhood Clean-Up Initiative that will provide year-round jobs and job-training services to Chicago's hard-to-employ populations, with an emphasis on the formerly incarcerated. In addition, the City released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify agencies that will serve to provide participants with job-readiness skills and the knowledge necessary to meet the demands of the work services projects. The RFP is available online at www.cityofchicago.org/recovery now through August 24. "The Neighborhood Clean-Up Initiative, supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will provide individuals who have had difficulties transitioning back into the workplace with an opportunity to regain their independence," said Commissioner Mary Ellen Caron, Ph.D., Chicago Department of Family and Support Services. "By providing job-training and placement to our hard-to-employ populations, we can support them on their path to self-sufficiency and a better life." For the next two years approximately 230 individuals will have the opportunity to serve in the City's Neighborhood Clean-Up Initiative, one of several second chance programs operated in cooperation with the Chicago Department of Streets & Sanitation. This new opportunity will provide participants with practical work experience and marketable skills in the fields of vegetation control, debris removal and the cleaning of neighborhood commercial strips. Workers will receive extensive hands-on training so that they can effectively operate equipment such as gas powered weed wackers; mowers; hand saws; pruners; lopers; edgers; de-weeding devices and picks. They will also learn the necessary safety training to ensure that they are in compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Standards. This RFP is a competitive process open to all entities: non-profit, for-profit, faith-based, private and public. The term of contracts executed under this RFP will be from October 1, 2009 to March 31, 2012. DFSS will host a Bidders Conference to provide more details about the RFP on Thursday, July 30, 2009, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Community Service Center, 4314 S. Cottage Grove Avenue. DFSS will also provide technical assistance to agencies not familiar with the RFP process. For more information on the Neighborhood Clean-Up RFP, please call the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services at 312-746-8853 or visit www.cityofchicago.org/fss. For more information about the range of services and programs available to hard-to-employ populations and the formerly incarcerated, please contact one of the City of Chicago's Community Reentry Support Centers: Westside Health Authority (773-664-0612) or Teamwork Englewood (773-602-4513). The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services is dedicated to supporting a continuum of coordinated services to enhance the lives of Chicago residents, particularly those most in need, from birth through the senior years. "