Inspirica was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation to support its Jumpstart Career Program.

The program provides participants with the foundation and skills they need to prepare for, find, maintain and advance in employment, which, in turn, allows them to earn the income necessary to transition from homelessness to permanent housing.

"The grant funds provided by the Fairfield County Community Foundation will enable our agency to continue provide our clients with the absolute best resources to prepare themselves for a sustainable life in our community," said Jason Shaplen, CEO of Inspirica. "For most of the homeless in our community, employment is simply the only way out. We are incredibly grateful to the FCCF for their commitment to our Jumpstart Career Program and our organization as a whole."

The program provides workforce development, which includes the Jumpstart Education Program, Jumpstart Vocational Training and Jumpstart Employment Agency.

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Over the past three years, a comprehensive approach to serving clients has led to Inspirica making a record 489 job placements and helping a record 383 people who were homeless find permanent housing. For most participants, the only way to escape homelessness is through securing employment. The starting wages that clients earn demonstrate the value of the workplace readiness skills that Jumpstart provides. Inspirica clients who have entered the workforce achieve an average starting salary of $10.25 an hour, which is 24 percent above minimum wage. In the past 12 months, 70 percent earned $9 an hour or more and almost 60 percent earned $10 an hour or more.