Flint’s MADE Institute gets huge boost with $200,000 grant

Popular program for returning inmates and at-risk youth can accept 20 more people from its waiting list
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 7:30 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Two Flint organizations known for helping people turn their lives around are getting a much-needed financial boost.

The MADE Institute and St. Luke’s New Life Center found out they’re getting a $200,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan. MADE works with people fresh out of prison to help them get a job and with troubled teens to keep them out of prison.

Made stands for Money, Attitude, Direction and Education. The $200,000 grant is a big shot in the arm that will increase the capacity, allowing 20 more people on the waiting list to enter the program.

“It allows us to continue adding to our workforce development programming,” said MADE founder Leon El-Almin. “We train at-risk youth and individuals with criminal histories or returning citizens. We get them certified in different skillsets that’s related to the skilled traded field.”

Tyrone Bogan, who went through the program five years ago, is one of the organization’s success stories. He’s been working on remodeling this house in Flint to become transitional housing for MADE.

“We have firsthand experience with lead abatement, asbestos. We have state certifications,” Bogan said. “I have great opportunities ahead of me because I can go for the union or there’s a lot of different private contractors looking for workers.”

Over 1,000 people have gone through the MADE Institute’s program. Many have gone on to work in union shops or for private contractors, which is a true testament to the program’s success.

El-Amin said many of the people who come through the program go on to make decent wages as well.

“Now that I have the codes and know how everything needs to be done professionally and know how to conduct different jobs and such, I think I’m going to start leaning towards the side of starting my own business,” Bogan said.

The $200,000 grant will be split between the MADE Institute and St. Luke’s. But what’s unique about this joint partnership is people from all different backgrounds are coming together for a common goal.

“St. Luke’s Catholic Church, Sister Carol, the Catholic denomination. I’m of the Islamic denomination. I’m a returning citizen, a black man. You know, Sister Carol is a white older woman, so I thought that collaboration needs to be highlighted,” El-Almin said.

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