I’m Bashar serving with the MNA (Michigan Nonprofit Association) Metro Detroit Partnership. I started back in February 2014. I’m working on a year-long Workforce and Entrepreneurial development project for the city of Detroit. My VAD is about helping people find jobs and reducing the unemployment rate in Detroit. We want to tip that needle. To do so, I’m working on at least five different projects at all times. Our work revolves more around capacity building for workforce development agencies. We want to help those organizations get better at what they do, make their work easier and more optimal, so that they may better serve their clients (i.e. the unemployed). Hopefully that will lead the sector to better outcomes. We are conducting a Needs Assessment for the workforce development sector in order to evaluate a few key organizations. We are also partnering with JFM Consulting Group to conduct an Entrepreneurial Impact Study, to determine what Entrepreneurial Development has done for the city so far. So we’re in the process of determining the needs of the sector and are finishing that part of our VAD! We have also already created an Asset Map of all of the Workforce and Entrepreneurial Development Organizations serving Detroit. Pretty soon, we’re finally going to get to support service delivery by going to the organizations and offering our services. The skills I’ve gained are invaluable. I’ve learned research and data collection, strategic planning, writing, how to leverage resources, and how to communicate more effectively. I’m learning how to be more professional and how the nonprofit sector works in general. This is especially important to me as I hope to begin a career in nonprofit. To that end, I’ve done a lot of networking. We have been working with the DJA (Detroit Jobs Alliance) a lot and I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to write two white papers about “Collective Impact,” a concept that merges existing efforts into a coordinated initiative in order to solve a complex social problem (like unemployment in Detroit). Along with the DJA, we hope to bring Collective Impact to Detroit in the workforce sector. I have the opportunity to be one of the parts, changing the way things are done in Detroit, and that’s pretty cool! I wear a suit every day to work. I work on the fifteenth floor on 28 W. Adams in downtown (hence I’ve attached a picture with my beautiful view;
I’m also watching history unfold as people construct the new M1 Rail). I work with leaders and professionals within the sector and am learning and networking a lot for them. Overall the experience has greatly exceeded my expectations. The new cohort of VISTAs just started and I hope that this project will become something that has long term community impact for the Detroit. I hope it can be sustainable and prosperous, and I believe it will.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!