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East End Cooperative Ministry (EECM) is excited to announce a new opportunity for youth and adults to receive multi-faceted support: Sew Forward, a career development collaboration started in conjunction with RK Mellon, the Pittsburgh Opera, and Bridgeway Capital. This project launched February 2017, providing technical education, access to professional machines, jobs, entrepreneurship training, and more, for exploring careers in the employment-diverse fields of sewing, tailoring and fashion design. With the help and grant from RK Mellon, we were able to get Sew Forward off the ground.

EECM has built-out and equipped production and training space for a sewing suite set to industry standards. The program will train participants in fundamentals, costuming, and design. In addition, we will help them grow educationally, teach soft skills, show them how to start a business, use the Etsy curriculum, and provide resources for them to fulfill an order or hold a job, once they gain proficiency.

EECM will build relationships with local performance, clothing, and retail companies. Contracts will be filled by EECM, once we train and establish a core of individuals to become a part of our business production line.

Our sewing classes take place Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and members participate in a ten week session. When they have completed the program, participants will receive a portfolio and join a community of makers in the Pittsburgh community, putting them in the best position to find work in the textile industry, where modern day skills are hard to find. Participants will have access to all EECM resources, including case management. We will also help them build and document their work history and obtain employment. Sew Forward can act as a launching pad for an individual’s first job and their next job, with a safety net of additional support as needed.

Contact IMPACTS Director Rev. Kellie Wild at kelliew@eecm.org or 412-345-7131 for more information!