The GAR Foundation recently announced $827,000 in funding to 18 community organizations in the areas of education, basic needs and independence, arts and culture, and civic enhancement.

Summit Education Initiative received the largest grant of $185,000 to advance its work in improving student outcomes.

The awards also include a $50,000 grant to Summit Workforce Solutions to implement TalentNEO, which aims to increase job seekers’ access to high-paying positions and expand the talent pool available to businesses.

“GAR is eager to support the TalentNEO program because it will connect available workers to open jobs, particularly in entry level manufacturing, allied health professions, and Information Technology,” Brittany Grimes Zaehringer, senior program officer at GAR Foundation, said in a news release.

TalentNEO will utilize WorkKeys, a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire and train job seekers.

Sue Lacy, president of Summit Workforce Solutions said GAR’s support will help “introduce skills-based hiring and enable job seekers to quantify workplace skills that respond to employer demand.”

“Jobs posted on the Ohio Means Jobs website will automatically receive WorkKeys skills scores and residents who lack educational credentials often required for many jobs will use their scores to apply,” she said. “Partner companies have agreed to interview these candidates as a strategy to expand the talent pool and decrease hiring and training costs.”

Other organizations receiving support include:

• Akron Civic Theatre, $70,000, for general operations.

• Akron Community Foundation for the Akron Digital Media Center, $20,000, for general operating support of the Akron Digital Media Center and akronist.com.

• Ballet Excel Ohio, $25,000, for Reach Out and Dance.

• Battered Women’s Shelter, $50,000, for general operations of the Battered Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Center in Summit County.

• Charisma Community Connection for fiscal sponsorship of iCARE, $40,000, for year one of the iCARE school-based mentoring program pilot project.

• Foundation Center-Cleveland, $10,000, for general operations.

• Friends Of Metro Parks, $5,000, for general operations.

• Great Lakes Theater, $20,000, for support of student matinees and Surround in Summit County.

• Haven Of Rest Ministries, Inc., $25,000, for general operations.

• Invent Now, Inc., $77,000, for Camp Invention scholarships in Akron Public Schools in summer 2016.

• Leadership Akron, $45,000, for general operations.

• Mature Services, Inc., $50,000, for Homecare Services.

• Proyecto Raices , $10,000, for general operations.

• Rebuilding Together Northeast Ohio, $105,000, for general operations in Summit County.

• Specialized Alternatives For Families And Youth Of Ohio, Inc., $5,000, for new foster parent recruitment.

• Summit Choral Society, $35,000, for general operations

• Summit Education Initiative, $185,000, for general operations

GAR Foundation was established in 1967 by Galen and Ruth Roush, co-founder and chief executive officer of Roadway Express. GAR Foundation invests in Greater Akron to promote quality of life, education, and economic opportunities.

Visit www.garfoundation.org for more information.