4/22/2019 Mercy Education Project – Google Docs

Impact 100 Metro Detroit 2019 Grant Summary
Grant Finalist: Mercy Education Project
Project: Adult Women Bridge to the Future Program

Background: Mercy Education Project (MEP) was established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1992 to provide afterschool tutoring to economically disadvantaged girls in southwest Detroit. By 1994 MEP had incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and added a women’s adult basic education and GED preparation programs. Since 1996 MEP has listened to the community and responded with additional programming to advance the social and economic mobility of the families we serve.

Unmet Need: For years, local news & businesses have lamented the lack of skilled workers in the City. Our GED graduates can be part of the solution to this shortage, but even with GEDs, they are not yet prepared to move into most skilled trades programs. MEP wants to better prepare these women to transition into the next step of their choosing, be it training/apprenticeship programs as offered by Focus Hope, Southwest Solutions, or community college certification programs, etc.

While roughly 75% of MEP GED graduates have moved into employment, job training or college within a year of completing their GED, nearly all leave our program with some educational and/or employment skills gaps. A passing score on the GED is 145, our women generally receive scores of 145 -150. A score of 165 means a student is college ready. Our Bridge to the Future program will help these women bridge the gaps, train, find and tap into resources in the community that will better prepare them to succeed.

Project Summary: MEP has proven expertise assisting women from disadvantaged backgrounds advance educationally & gain GED certification. We do this through intensive, customized instruction & support services (transportation, child care navigation, mental health support service partnerships) allowing each woman to achieve this goal. MEP’s GED attainment and student retention rates are some of the best in Detroit. Unfortunately, obtaining a GED is no longer enough. It is a required first step.

Creating a bridge to future opportunities for our women is what MEP must now do.
Currently, we provide workforce development & soft skills training to groups of women in our programs. With Impact 100 funding, we will be able to intensify & extend our work beyond completing their GEDs. MEP will be a viable support to them as they move to the next phase. Certified career coaches will work individually with them, coaching and supporting on their road to ultimate success (college, job training, apprenticeships, etc.).

Outcome: We will consider this project a success if at least half of the women we work with through the Bridge to the Future program are able to continue moving toward their job/training/career goals without interruption after completing their GED.

Sustainability: With the Impact 100 grant funds, MEP will establish this new Bridge program and measure its success over two program years. With this data and experience, MEP will sustain this program with funding from individuals, private corporations and other grantors who will want to support this new MEP program into the future because it will improve the success of our GED women as they bridge to further education or more self-sustaining employment in order to support their families, children and the Detroit community.

MEP will also be contributing to the success of the City of Detroit and SE Michigan by preparing these women for good paying jobs that go unfilled currently. We believe our model will be in demand and replicated by others or expanded by MEP. We hope Impact 100 will support this model to help not
only the women of MEP, but eventually all undereducated men and women in the City of Detroit.

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