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Commissioner Programs Earn National Awards

Monday, May 21, 2018

Jodi Andes, JFS, 614-233-2116
Tyler Lowry, Commissioners, 614-525-6630
Marty Homan, Commissioners, 614-525-5273

The Franklin County Commissioners have been recognized with a pair of Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo) that honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.  The awards are for programs within or overseen by the commissioners’ Job and Family Services and Economic Development and Planning departments.  The I Am My Brother’s Keeper program was recognized in the Human Services category, and the Building Futures pre-apprenticeship program in the Community and Economic Development category.

Building Futures is a first-of-its-kind pre-apprenticeship program that is designed to help low-income residents from traditionally disadvantaged communities pursue careers in the skilled construction trades. Participants complete a total of 12 weeks of “soft” skills training and trade-specific instruction, all while receiving a weekly stipend.  The program graduated its first 23 participants in March, and they immediately went onto union apprenticeships in areas such as electrical work or welding that have starting wages of up to $25 per hour. The program is administered jointly by IMPACT Community Action and the Columbus-Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council.  Earlier this month, the commissioners approved funding for two additional cohorts throughout the remainder of the year.

“Building Futures is building a pipeline to the middle class for residents that have had limited opportunities,” said Board of Commissioners President Kevin L. Boyce.  “The collaboration between the building trades, Impact Community Action, and our own departments is the kind of innovative, good government that we pride ourselves on here in Franklin County.”

I Am My Brother’s Keeper is an asset-based, collective-impact initiative designed to help close opportunity gaps for boys and young men of color living on the South Side of Columbus. The program takes a two-generational, holistic approach, offering education, mentorship, experiential learning, career-training, social-emotional development services and much more.  Since its inception in 2014, more than 125 boys ages 8-17 have participated in I Am My Brother’s Keeper, including more than 70 who are currently enrolled. The program is a partnership between the county, the Columbus Urban League, the Ohio State University Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, and more than a dozen other partner organizations.

“I Am My Brother’s Keeper is an ambitious program that has had profound, transformative impact on the lives of so many young men and their families,” said Commissioner Marilyn Brown.  “Programs like this, which provide those crucial wrap-around services, mentorship, and experiential learning help to close the opportunity gap that so many of our residents face through no fault of their own.  I Am My Brother’s Keeper supports our families and offers them opportunities to excel.”

The 2018 NACo Achievement Awards winners will be honored at a luncheon at the organization’s Annual Conference and Exposition in Nashville (Davidson County), Tennessee.  Last year, Franklin County hosted the NACo conference, which brought more than 3,000 elected leaders to Central Ohio from all over the country, and won four Achievement Awards in the categories of Community and Economic Development, Human Services, Planning, and Volunteers.

“We know that one of the best things we can do as county leaders is to provide ways that allow our residents to better help themselves create more promising futures,” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “This attention to excellence is one of the many reasons why Franklin County continues to improve in national rankings as one of the best places to live and raise a family.”

“Our county is so fortunate to have bold, visionary leaders like our commissioners—leaders who recognize that the work we do today to close opportunity gaps will fuel our community’s growth and success for years to come,” said Job and Family Services Director Joy Bivens.

NACo President Roy Charles Brooks said, “Counties seize opportunities to deliver services more efficiently and build stronger communities every day. Achievement Award-winning programs are examples for counties that are determined to enhance services for our residents.”

For more information about the 2018 NACo Achievement Awards, visit

For more information about Building Futures, visit, and to learn more about I Am My Brother’s Keeper, visit

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