Boeing workers donate $500K for job training

EVERETT — Boeing workers gave $500,000 on Friday to HopeWorks Social Enterprises, a nonprofit that is creating businesses in the community to provide job training.

It’s the largest capital grant ever given by the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound and one-sixth of the fund’s capital grant budget for 2014, said Bob Malone, the incoming president of the organization.

The money will be used for building improvements at HopeWorks Station at 3331 Broadway in Everett. It will also purchase two new trucks and equipment for three existing HopeWorks businesses and will help launch a fourth business next year, said Ed Petersen, the CEO for HopeWorks.

“It is not just an expression of compassion and support for some of the most vulnerable members of our community, it’s also a strong show of faith in (HopeWorks) and what they have accomplished and what we think they can accomplish in the future,” Malone said at a reception in Everett.

“We’re pretty excited, as you can imagine, to have a commitment not just of money but from the workforce of the largest in employer in our community,” Petersen said.

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson praised Boeing workers and the company for their generosity.

“As bad as our challenges are at times, and we see the people on the street, just imagine what it would be like if we didn’t have our giving community and companies like Boeing doing what they’re doing,” Stephanson said. “It would be a totally different place.”

HopeWorks, launched in 2011, is an offshoot of Housing Hope, a nonprofit that has worked for years to provide housing for people in need. HopeWorks aims to create self-sustaining businesses to generate jobs, build skills and help low-income people move up the wage ladder.

HopeWorks Station is home to GroundWorks Landscaping, WaterWorks Irrigation Services and upscale consignment store ReNewWorks Home and Decor Store, in addition to HopeWorks headquarters.

Eventually, the goal for HopeWorks is to develop six social enterprise businesses in all, along with 100 housing units, an internship program and a training academy at the Broadway location.

The Employees Community Fund is an employee-owned and managed charity that has given $600 million in donations since 1951. Boeing workers voluntarily donate to the fund through payroll deductions as small as $5 per paycheck. Its trustees are rank-and-file employees.

“We do this in addition to our full-time day jobs,” said Kathleen Sneden-Cook, the fund’s president. “I work commercial airplanes, engineering processes and tools. Bob is one of my coworkers. Alan is one of my coworkers in engineering. My other friends work the factory, where they build those magical birds for all of us that we love to fly as we go places.”

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