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Near Atlanta Falcons stadium, new Westside jobs center comes to fruition

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Project funded by Invest Atlanta, Arthur Blank Foundation, more

A project highly touted by Arthur Blank and the Falcons that aims to help create job opportunities in neighborhoods just west of the Georgia Dome has come to fruition.

Funded in part by Invest Atlanta ($3.5 million in grants), Quest Community Complex is now official. As the new home to Westside Works, the 12,000 square-foot Vine City facility aims to be a community resource, providing nearby residents with access to job training, economic development opportunities, and other resources.

According to its website, Westside Works is a long-term neighborhood program aiming to help with employment in the areas of Vine City, English Avenue, Castleberry Hill, and other nearby communities.

It’s funded by many organizations, including Construction Education Foundation of Georgia, Integrity Community Development Corp., New Hope Enterprises, Per Scholas, The Arthur M. Blank Foundation, and Atlanta Workforce Development Agency.

As of today, Westside Works has placed about 350 individuals in full-time jobs earning an average of $12 an hour, and the organization is training hundreds more in the industries of construction, technology, healthcare, and food and beverage services, officials said.

The Westside has for some time been a focus of the Arthur M. Blank Foundation.

As the foundation’s website puts it, this community, which is "steeped in the Civil Rights movement" and "home to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ... has been overwhelmed by concentrated poverty, blight, and disillusionment — leaving residents and non-residents frustrated by the lack of positive change."

The foundation has committed $15 million to the area’s improvement (dubbed the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund), and aims to work with the community to "reimagine what is possible and help create a place where everyone has a fair shot at a decent life."

The creation of the Quest Community Complex, which will house the new Westside Works, is a big part of that effort, it seems.