Grants on Track: impact in action in Cleveland, Tennessee

Norfolk Southern is highlighting a 2023 Safety First or Thriving Communities grant recipient each month in a series called “Grants on Track” to celebrate the impact these organizations are making in their communities through grant support. Launched in 2023, the Safety First and Thriving Communities grant programs support organizations that promote safe and sustainable operations, develop the local workforce, and build strong, resilient communities across our 22-state network.

This month, we’re featuring Thriving Communities grant recipient City Fields, an organization dedicated to providing career and job-readiness training to individuals facing barriers to employment in Cleveland, Tennessee. City Fields empowers individuals from marginalized backgrounds by providing scholarships for workforce development, serving as a beacon of hope for many in the Cleveland community.

"With the support from Norfolk Southern, a pathway to a career and financial stability is being created for those that are often overlooked and forgotten,” said City Fields Workforce Development Director Brian Stewart. “Doors are being opened, second chances being given, and barriers are being overcome because of our partnership with Norfolk Southern."

City Fields aims to bridge the gap for individuals with justice system involvement, addiction recovery program graduates, people living with disabilities, and those without a high school diploma or equivalent by offering them opportunities for meaningful personal and professional growth.

So far in 2024, City Fields has successfully trained 12 people in their workforce development training program, with Norfolk Southern's support directly providing scholarships for three participants to its welding bootcamp program. These students earned American Welding Society (AWS) Certifications, a nationally recognized credential that provides viable employment opportunities. Norfolk Southern’s McDonough Training Center in Georgia operates the only testing center in the state that is accredited by AWS. AWS certified welders are essential to powering the American economy, including sectors like manufacturing, construction, aerospace, maritime, and petroleum.

Applications for the Safety First and Thriving Communities grant programs are open now through October 1, 2024. For more information and to apply for a grant, visit our Grant Programs website.