Reducing Barriers to Employment & Advancement Grant
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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Reducing Barriers to Employment & Advancement Grant

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The challenges are real: educational attainment, the digital divide, lack of access to reliable transportation, criminal records. These are the systemic barriers people face when seeking sustainable employment.

For those individuals who do have jobs, many of them pay at a rate far below what they need to support themselves or their family.

Reducing Barriers to Employment & Advancement is anchored in the belief that all adults of working age should have the opportunity to obtain permanent employment with a livable wage.

United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County’s Diversity Leadership Society (DLS) is leading an initiative to reduce barriers to employment and advancement.

Through United Way’s Reducing Barriers to Employment and Advancement (RBEA) Advisory Committee, United Way partners with 30+ organizations to impact individuals in our area seeking sustainable employment using the following strategies:

  • Education, training, and credentials: Supporting programs that help adults obtain their GED, learn a new skill/ trade, or earn a new certification.
  • Transportation: Supporting programs that provide innovative transportation solutions and/or assist with driver’s license recovery.
  • Justice Impacted Individuals: Supporting programs with a focus on strengthening justice impacted individuals in the workplace and/or advocating for policy change that assists individuals who have been impacted by the justice system.


  • Agencies must be a 501(c)3 in good financial standing and operating as a 501(c)3 for at least one year.
  • Agencies may apply for funding to address reducing barriers to employment, using one or more of the strategies identified above.
  • Agencies may apply for up to $100,000, one time per year.
  • Agencies must provide a 25% cash or in-kind match to be considered for funding.
  • Agencies must have a board approved policy that states the organization does not discriminate based on social or economic class, gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation and identification, disability, special health care needs, race or religion.
  • Special consideration will be made for organizations applying for funding with an additional organization to maximize impact.

2024-2025 Timeline

All trainings and roundtables will take place virtually, unless otherwise specified.

  • March 11, 2024 - Letter of Intent is open for submission
  • March 29, 2024 - Letter of Intent due by 4:30pm
  • April 19, 2024  Agencies notified whether they have qualified to complete a full Request for Proposal (RFP)
  • April 22, 2024 - RFP becomes available in e-CImpact and qualified agencies receive instructions on how to complete and submit RFP via email
  • April 30, 2024  - 1pm - 2pm Save the Date for an optional RFP Training. Details will be sent to agencies completing a full RFP. 
  • May 10, 2024 - RFP and all attachments due 
  • July 1, 2024 - Project funding year starts and agency executives are notified of award status



The Reducing Barriers to Employment & Advancement Letter of Intent is now closed.


Additional Information

Agencies invited to complete a full RFP that are not currently United Way Agency Program Partners will be required to submit:

  • 501 (c) 3 Letter
  • Completed Form W-9
  • Most recent Audit Report & Management Letter for Audit Report
    • If the agency does not conduct an Audit, they will be asked to submit the last two fiscal year-ending Financial Reviews OR unaudited fiscal-year ending financials (Balance Sheet & Statement of Activities)
  • Most recent fiscal quarter financial report (Balance Sheet and Statement of Activities)
  • Agency 990, 990EZ, or 990N (most recently completed)
  • Current list of Agency Board of Directors

All agencies invited to complete a full RFP will be required to submit a program logic model.

Grant requirements for agencies awarded funding

The following items will be provided to all agencies invited to complete an RFP

  • Signed Grant Agreement
  • Counterterrorism Compliance Form
  • Policy on Protecting Children (if the agency serves children)

All funded programs and hiring partners may be required to commit to additional training requested by and provided by United Way.

Outcomes Measurement:
All funded programs may be asked to collect data that measure common outcomes and indicators.

  • Programs will be asked to choose one or two outcomes to report to United Way in their Year-End Report. Outcomes, indicators, the post-test survey tool, and training will be provided to funded organizations.

All funded programs are required to report demographic information for all of the clients completing programming (including those that did not take the post-test.)

  • Age Groups: 0 thru 3, 4 thru 5, 6 thru 11, 12 thru 17, 18 thru 24, 25 thru 34, 35 thru 44, 45 thru 54, 55 thru 64, 65 thru 74, 75 thru 84, 85 thru 94, 95 and over
  • Gender: Male, Female, Transgender, Non-binary/Genderfluid/Prefer to self-describe, Prefer not to say
  • Household Income: $0 to $9,999, $10,000 to $14,999, $15,000 to $24,999, $25,000 to $34,999, $35,000 to $44,999, $45,000 to $54,999, $55,000 to $64,999, $65,000 to $74,999, $75,000 to $84,999, $85,000 to $89,999, $90,000 or more, Free and reduced lunch (if income data is not available)
  • Racial Background & Ethnicity: African American/Black (not Hispanic or Latino), Asian (not Hispanic or Latino), Caucasian/White (not Hispanic or Latino), Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern (not Hispanic or Latino), Native American (not Hispanic or Latino), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (not Hispanic or Latino), Multi-racial, Other
  • Veteran Status (Do you now or have you ever served in the Armed Forces?)
  • Zip Code of Residence

Goal Criteria Checklist:

  • Agencies must be able to provide full name for non-duplication tracking.
  • Agencies must administer a United Way-issued intake survey for all program participants.

Employment Programs: Employment agencies are agencies that focus on employment through matching participants to employers.

  • Agencies must be able to administer a “self-sufficiency” matrix in addition to the intake survey.
  • Agencies must be able to provide the average wages of any job a participant receives with in the program year.

Education Programs: Education programs are programs that focus on providing participants with education, training, or credentialing. i.e. HSED, GED, higher ed, certifications, I.T certifications, skill trade certifications, or trainings that lead to significant increase in employability. etc.

  • Agencies must be able to provide the number of unduplicated individuals that receive a job credentialing certification, GED, skill certification, or equivalent.
  • Agencies providing education supports that take multiple years (associate or bachelor's degrees) you must be able to track unduplicated individuals that complete a degree over the course of all the years the program is funded.

Transportation Programs: Transportation programs are programs that focus on solving transportation issues for Indvidual's. i.e. recovering a driver’s license or subsidized direct service transportation.

  • Agencies providing rides to work must track the number of unduplicated individuals that have received consistent rides to work over the course of 30 days or received transportation to an interview.
  • If you are a driver’s license recovery program, agencies must track the number of unduplicated individuals who have had their driver's license reinstated.

Programs Serving Justice Impacted Individuals: Programs that focus on the needs of justice impacted individuals by way of legal services or wrap around support leading to employment.

  • If the program provides legal assistance, agencies must be able to provide the number of unduplicated individuals who have had their legal issue resolved in the program year.
  • Agencies must provide evidence of employment resources, wrap around care, and skills that remove existing barriers to employment.


Please reach out to our RBEA team using the form below.