February: A Month for Celebration
February 1926 marked the launching of Negro History Week, which in February 1976, evolved into Black History Month.
February also marks the month that KRA celebrated its own history-making milestone—40 years’ service dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and strengthening the communities in which we live.
Knowlton R. Atterbeary, President & CEO, founded the firm, convinced that the key to unlocking the door to sustainable community economic independence was linked inextricably to a skilled and reliable workforce, which became his life’s mission.
KRA is the only Black-owned National Leader in Workforce Development, providing Career Services for its adult and youth jobseekers, and Business Services for its employer-partners.
Our supporters have been following KRA’s progress for many years; however, there are a few items of interest, of which they may not be aware:
- In 1981, for two Maryland-based U.S. Naval Academy’s Family Support Centers, KRA provided employment counseling, information, and referral services for active and retired service members and their families.
- Several years later, KRA operated residential Job Corps Centers, followed by In-School and Out- of-School Youth programs in Kentucky, resulting in statewide Outstanding WIA Youth Program recognition.
- In the mid 2000’s KRA began serving TANF-eligible customers in Pennsylvania.
- In 2012, with an established east-coast footprint, KRA expanded westward, first to California with two San Diego Metro Region Career Centers, which today has expanded to eight, and then to Orange County, Long Beach, and Santa Barbara, as well as northern and southern Nevada.
Of our 40 years, by far, 2020 was the most challenging when COVID-19 forced the closing of our program facilities and the adoption of a work-from-home strategy that, not only preserved our platform of current programs, but also attracted current- and new-client program starts.
When one COVID-19 death in the U.S. can explode to more than 500,000 in 1 year, there is no comfortable level of certainty about anything our future holds. However, there is one thing of which we are certain: in a post-pandemic period of recovery, the public workforce-development system needs KRA’s expertise more than ever before.
While KRA supports all customers to develop opportunities for workplace self-reliance and success, as a socially responsible company, we do have an ongoing concern that national unemployment rates for Black- and Hispanic-Americans are consistently higher than rates for whites—gaps that, historically, widen quickly in post-recessionary periods, such as those following an economically devastating pandemic.
This disparity is not accidental or coincidental, but undeniably, the result of a legacy of racial and social injustice that permeates every facet of the “life and liberty” systems we depend on, contributing to the inequities faced by many of our jobseeker-customers deserving of a more level economic playing field.
The future may be filled with many uncertainties; however, KRA assures all who depend on us—clients, customers, and community partners—that we will always provide the highest possible levels of Innovative Solutions, Exceptional Services, and Trusted Results.