Ford Motor Co.’s philanthropic branch, the Ford Fund, today announced it will build a job training and development center in South Africa, modeled after the original Ford Resource and Engagement Center in southwest Detroit.
The new center marks the first international expansion of the resource center concept, designed to bring nonprofit community services together in a collaborative environment.
“Ford Fund has a proud tradition of strengthening the communities that are home to our employees, dealers, suppliers, and customers,” says Jim Vella, president of Ford Motor Co. Fund and Community Services. “As our company expands throughout the African continent, we are bringing our innovative community investment programs to new regions to create a better world.”
Vella says the new center, scheduled to open in October, will be located near Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant outside of Pretoria, a city just north of Johannesburg. He says Ford will spend nearly $130,000 per year in job training at the center, which will assist about 200 people yearly.
He says the automaker is joining with Future Families, a South Africa-based nonprofit that provides services to families and orphans affected by HIV and AIDS, in operating the new center. The center will offer courses including career guidance and presentation skills, financial literacy, business and entrepreneurial skills, as well as training for vocational and technical jobs such as plumbing, caregiving, computer, and office work.
Vella says since opening in Detroit three years ago, the Ford Resource and Engagement Center in Detroit has assisted more than 80,000 local residents through a range of social and cultural services.