For nearly 60 years, Challenge Unlimited, a national nonprofit headquartered in Alton, IL, has secured employment opportunities for the disadvantaged, individuals with disabilities and veterans so they may achieve their highest level of independence. The agency is delighted to announce that two of its recent achievements will allow the agency to deliver professional training certification and secure employment opportunities in area corporations as well as judicial court buildings.
Underscoring its established ability to secure employment opportunities, Challenge Unlimited is one of two nonprofits in the country to be selected for the US Department of Labor Apprenticeship program. Created in partnership with the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) Missouri Job Center, the U.S. Department of Labor-certified apprenticeship program gives individuals with disabilities the opportunity to receive hands-on professional development and training in the janitorial field. Program participants are placed on a Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certified janitorial contract and are given the opportunity to achieve training certifications through both the CIMS training programs and the Department of Labor Apprenticeship Certification program. Participants also receive assistance in identifying job preferences and locating/securing employment.
“Being chosen to participate in the Apprenticeship Program is allowing us to help more individuals with disabilities achieve independence through opportunity,” says Charlotte Hammond, President and CEO of Challenge Unlimited. “We currently have program participants providing services at Scott Air Force Base and for state court buildings.”
Coinciding with the distinction from the US Department of Labor, Challenge Unlimited was granted a 12-month contract to provide custodial services for the five Missouri 22nd Circuit Court buildings located throughout St. Louis. Awarded through a competitive process, this contract has a renewable option for an additional four (4) years and will deliver 30-35 new jobs to the City of St. Louis.
Challenge Unlimited strives continuously to add to its staffing credentials and recently completed the Custodial Management Institute training program. This enables the agency to deploy Certified Custodial Technician Trainers at each applicable job site. Job candidates which go through the training seminar will become Certified Custodial Technicians, an elite group of only 5 percent of all custodians worldwide.
“People living with disabilities, both seen and unseen, are able and eager to join the workforce in a multitude of capacities,” explains Hammond. “It is a privilege to continue our mission to forge a pathway to meaningful work for all abilities. We are seeking additional job seekers as well as business employment partners to join our roster.”
To serve more clients and employers in St. Louis, later this summer Challenge Unlimited will open a staffing office in Maryland Heights, MO. The new location at 11830 Borman Drive will focus on placing individuals with disability, the disadvantaged and veterans into temporary/part-time positions with area businesses through the Staffing Division.