The FINANCIAL -- Accenture and Out & Equal announced that
Green Chimneys, a New York-based nonprofit, is the winner of the first
Accenture Skills to Succeed LGBT Award.
The award honors a nonprofit organization working to equip people in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities with workplace and entrepreneurial skills. The Accenture Skills to Succeed LGBT Award was created to honor an organization or program improving job skills and employment opportunities for the LGBT community. Aligned with Accenture’s global corporate citizenship initiative, Skills to Succeed – which by 2015 will equip 250,000 people around the world with the skills to get a job or build a business – the award seeks to highlight programs that help build individual work skills, increase the economic vitality of communities and open doors to employment and independence.
Accenture and Out & Equal chose Green Chimneys because of its Nature-Based Career Training Program for LGBTQ Youth, which meets the judges’ requirements of a program that employs creative solutions to social problems, is scalable, replicable, sustainable and demonstrates proven results. According to Accenture, the award will be presented at the Out & Equal Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London in July 2012.
“This award reflects Accenture’s ongoing commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace for our employees who live and work in communities around the world,” said Nellie Borrero, managing director of Inclusion & Diversity at Accenture. “The Green Chimneys Career Training program for people in the LGBT community supports both our diversity agenda as well as our commitment to building the skills of people around the world so they are better equipped to get jobs and build businesses.”
Organized in the mid-1980s, Green Chimneys’ NYC Division provides residential and skill-building programs for LGBTQ homeless, runaway and foster care youth. By providing life, vocational and relational skills, participants in the 18-week intensive career training program are exposed to nature-based activities that work to develop a harmonious relationship between people, animals, plants, nature and the environment including educational field trips and workshops to increase skills such as developing and setting goals, networking, interviewing, and personal budgeting and finance. In addition, Green Chimneys offers internships with organizations such as the ASPCA, Randall’s Island Organic Farm and Van Cortlandt Park.
“We are truly honored to receive the Accenture Skills to Succeed LGBT award, as it highlights the importance and necessity of building life and employment skills for members of LGBTQ communities,” said Joseph Whalen, executive director, Green Chimneys. “Many of the youth served by Green Chimneys NYC program lack the support, guidance, and access to vocational opportunities needed to prepare for an independent, financially stable life. Helping them discover new possibilities and broadening our partnerships in this arena will benefit these youth who count on organizations like ours to help them enter adulthood as healthy, responsible members of their communities.”
Participants in the Green Chimneys program pilot year have demonstrated significant gains in self-esteem, life skills and job readiness and have received the support and guidance necessary to transition into adulthood, gain marketable skills and build healthy and professional relationships. Of the 2011 summer session participants, 50 percent are enrolled in college and 75 percent are currently employed.
“We are delighted to honor Green Chimneys for their achievements in providing life and work skills to the LGBT community,” said Selisse Berry, founding executive director, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.
“Their career training for LGBT youth has already shown results and should be seen as a model and best practice. We look forward to highlighting their impressive work at the Global LGBT Workplace Summit in London this summer. ”