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Published 01/09/2020 | Reading Time 2 min 11 sec

By BWSTimes Staff  

Tulsa, Okla. — At Metropolitan Baptist Church, the MetCares Foundation held a press conference with partner career training organizations and local elected officials, Senator Kevin Mathews and City Councilwoman Vanessa Hall-Harper, to announce the launching of its new LevelUp Tulsa initiative. The initiative will be the first of its kind in the region and will pay a supplemental stipend to local residents seeking to enhance their earning potential by participating in career training. For local residents who live at or below the poverty line, financial issues are a major barrier to accessing such programs. 

Nate Morris, who’s the manager of community organizing for the Met Cares Foundation, explained, “We believe in economic investment in citizens,” and added, “We want to invest in people, so they can invest in themselves, and help get out of poverty.” 

The LevelUp Tulsa initiative, born out of the ideas and recommendations of the North Tulsa community, seeks to remove those barriers by providing qualifying individuals with a supplemental stipend while they engage in career training programs hosted by community partners. These partners include Tulsa Community WorkAdvance, Tulsa Tech, Workforce Tulsa, Goodwill and Fitting Back In.

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“We’re grateful for their commitment to our Tulsa community and to the potential of this initiative,” the Family and Community Ownership Director for the Foundation, Greg Robinson III, said. The Tulsa Area United Way will fund the pilot year of the initiative through its social innovation grant. 

Over the course of the pilot year, at least 15 individuals will be partnered with our community partners for career training opportunities and receive a weekly stipend (up to $315/wk) for up to 12 weeks of career training. The initiative will recruit individuals who are parents in the North Tulsa community and generally living at 125% or less of the federal poverty level who are interested in leveling up through career training opportunities but need additional support to access those opportunities. 

Pastor Dr. Ray A. Owens, who is also the founder and chair of the Met Cares Foundation, approached the podium and quoted the honorable W.E.B. Du Bois, “‘ The great problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line’,” he continued, “Well, we’ve made some advancements there, but not as many as we need. I would actually add to Du Bois’s thinking by saying: The problem of the 21st century is the problem of what I would call the ‘learning line.’ The learning line is the difference between people who have access to educational opportunities that push them forward — towards their promise, and for the group of people who do not have access to educational opportunities, this LevelUp initiative actually pushes families from below the learning line to above the learning line, so that they now have the opportunity to make it to their place of promise.”  

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Initial interest applications for cohort members and a program coordinator role will open January 13, 2020.  

Such training will include credentialing opportunities for careers in healthcare, hospitality, private security, and other career paths with a proven record of success for Tulsa citizens.

Two interest meetings for potential cohort families will be held on Tuesday, January 14, at Rudisill Regional Library: one in the morning from 9:30-11 and one in the evening from 6:00-7:30.

For more information on the LevelUp Tulsa program, visit

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