Urban League Breaks Ground in Ferguson, Mo.
FERGUSON, Mo. – The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Inc. (ULSTL) hosted a groundbreaking on July 9 in Ferguson, Mo., on the site of the former QuikTrip convenience store looted and burned during the riot following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014.
The new Urban League Community Empowerment Center of Ferguson will feature programs, including job training, from the Urban League and various social service partners to serve the surrounding neighborhoods.
Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip Corp. donated the property in March.
“We are grateful to the community for enabling us to build the Community Empowerment Center of Ferguson. It is our hope that the center will assist thousands of young men and their families throughout the North County area,” said Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO of the ULSTL.
The new facility will house the Urban League’s “Save Our Sons” workforce program, which will provide job training and placement services for up to 500 African-Americans and other young men in Ferguson and North St. Louis County over the next two years. It also initially will have offices for Provident, Better Family Life, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Home State Health.
Construction management firm Kwame Building Group Inc. will provide owner’s representative services for the new community center.
“The Urban League believes their mission of helping African American men find jobs includes giving them the opportunity to build the center itself,” said Joshua Randall, president of Kwame Building Group. “So an important part of our role as construction manager is to achieve the maximum MBE and minority workforce participation possible.”
The new building will be an expansion of the Urban League’s existing job training and education efforts. The center will offer four-week job-training programs to help young black men learn how to get jobs, keep them and work towards promotions. The center also will offer counseling for housing, rent and utility assistance and mental health services provided by Provident Inc.
“We want to be part of our community’s healing. For this community to be everything it can be, these young men need the opportunity to be everything they can be.”
“We want to be part of the solution, and we are not leaving Ferguson,” QuikTrip board member Michael Johnson said when the company donated the property. “We want to be part of our community’s healing. For this community to be everything it can be, these young men need the opportunity to be everything they can be.”
Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip operates more than 700 convenience stores in 11 states: Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.