ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed announced today that the City of Atlanta, Chick-fil-A® Foundation and The Coca Cola Foundation will pledge more than $7 million to the City of Refuge to expand job training programs and foster economic development on Atlanta’s Westside. The City of Atlanta will pledge $1.25 million in funds to support City of Refuge programs, including funds from Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm. The Atlanta Workforce Development Agency will leverage workforce training dollars to support the expanded job training programs offered by City of Refuge.

“I am proud to announce the City of Atlanta’s investment in the new workforce innovation hub in our Westside communities,” said Mayor Reed. “Our city’s leading companies and philanthropic groups are stepping up to support meaningful and lasting change on the Westside. Through this pledge, the City of Atlanta will continue to advance economic success for hard-working families and their children through workforce development and support.”

City of Refuge, an Atlanta-based nonprofit, will use the funds to construct and operate an innovative job hub that will teach residents skills to prepare for careers in auto tech, retail, the culinary arts, landscaping, security services and HVAC installation and repair. The partnership will also establish a computer-coding academy for young adults, and a small business incubator and accelerator for aspiring entrepreneurs.

“Today marks a significant milestone for Atlanta’s Westside. The tangible commitment from our city’s public and private sector will translate into real jobs that will give way to real optimism,” said Chick-fil-A Chairman and CEO Dan Cathy. “Bruce Deel and his team at the City of Refuge inspire me, and I am honored that Chick-fil-A can play a part in making their vision for the Westside a reality. They are committed to their neighbors and I know they will continue to serve the community well.”

City of Refuge helps women and children facing homelessness. Through their emergency shelter and transitional housing, individuals and families can receive on-site health care, engage in activities for children and youth, and gain vocational training and staffing services.

“With committed and passionate partners, we can strengthen our communities and look out, in particular, for those most in need of life-changing help,” said Muhtar Kent, CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. “We’re proud to support this new vocational training effort that will improve the lives of men and women, young people, parents and families throughout our Westside neighborhood.”

“I think it’s safe to say we’re all excited for the potential here,” said Bruce Deel, CEO and founder of City of Refuge. “We need more partners to join with us to transform the community, because these are the types of partnerships that can really change everything – more people will be served and more families will be impacted for good. That’s what matters. That’s what we’re about. I’m grateful for community leaders who share a vision for transformation and are willing to work together to see it happen.”

The planning phase for the job hub is underway. Construction, renovation and programming of the more than 20,000-square-foot training center and culinary academy will begin in the coming months and continue through September 2019.

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