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Nonprofit

With New Office Space, StepUp Wilmington Gains A Stronger Footing

By Cece Nunn, posted Oct 19, 2022
Nonprofit employment organization StepUp Wilmington has moved to a bigger office with opportunities to grow.

StepUp now occupies the 3,800-square-foot, two-story building at 621 N. Fourth St., after relocating from about 2,000 square feet in The Harrelson Center, 20 N. Fourth St.

"We wanted our own standalone space with street-front access so our candidates could walk straight in the door and be at StepUp Wilmington," said Will Rikard, the organization's executive director. "We also have a great, state-of-the-art training facility on the first floor and private staff offices on the second floor.

"It allows the functionality we wanted to operate and meet our long-term goals."

StepUp placed clients in 176 jobs last fiscal year, a 32% increase from the previous year, and is on track to meet its goal of placing 350 annually by 2024.

The organization has 13 full-time staff members and has the goal of helping the unemployed and under-employed get a job, be successful in that job and continue on a path to higher pay.

"The average wage for somebody coming through StepUp and getting a job is just over $13 an hour," Rikard said. "Our goal is to get them above that and to true living-wage employment."

He said as a result, StepUp's work doesn't end at training and connecting the people it serves to employers.

"We continue to support them to meet those financial goals and career development goals to be able to live in a stable and thriving environment," Rikard said.

He said industries where StepUp has placed people include hospitality and retail "but a lot more manufacturing and health care, which are two bigger and growing sectors for us."

StepUp Wilmington is a partner in a city effort called DigitalBridge Wilmington, described by city officials as a "digital upskilling, re-skilling and job-pairing program" launched with $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce and Wilmington Downtown Inc. are scheduled to host a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for StepUp Wilmington’s new office at noon Friday.
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