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Portland-based Cultivate Initiatives program helps the houseless reenter the workforce.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Portland nonprofit Cultivate Initiatives is seeking donations for an internship program that helps build skills for homeless people trying to reenter the workforce.Portland nonprofit Cultivate Initiatives is holding a holiday fundraiser to provide meals for its interns who are often unhoused, according to the organization.

Cultivate Initiatives works with community members "who have been marginalized, especially those experiencing houselessness, to workforce development, community health and housing and sheltering," said Matthew McCarl, Cultivate Initiatives community engagement and action director.

McCarl told KOIN 6 News that the nonprofit's intern program "helps connect unhoused neighbors with short-term work opportunities and resources as they reenter the workforce."

During the internship program, "folks will show up to orientation and they'll get straight to work with our community beautification team. This is a team that is staffed by people who have experienced houselessness as well and they go out through east Portland and remove garbage," McCarl said.

According to McCarl, the organization has removed over 850,000 pounds of garbage in the past year.

Cultivate Initiatives also helps its interns overcome barriers to employment and access resources like IDs, driver's licenses, resumes or treatment, McCarl said, noting almost all of the nonprofit's interns are unhoused.

"Our interns are showing up every day in tents, RVs and often don't often have food to get them through the day. So, we're able to provide that meal. That's one thing less that's going to be holding them back from getting back into employment," McCarl said.

The organization has had 111 interns, 28 of who were hired for full-time positions at the nonprofit.

McCarl also said the program is looking to build more employment partnerships to help interns find jobs.

Donations to Cultivate Initiatives or information regarding employment partnerships can be found on the Cultivate Initiatives website.

KOIN 6 News is a news partner of Pamplin Media Group.


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