Want to learn more about Operation New Hope’s JPA program? Please call us at 904.425.6002 or click here.

What is JPA?

In 2013, with little more than a concept the Operation New Hope Warehouse Associate program was created. The 40-hour program included industry terminology, warehouse safety and daily operations. By partnering with local transportation and logistics companies more than 300 ex-offenders have taken the steps to secure and maintain gainful employment.

With the continued success of the Warehouse Associate program it became abundantly clear that there was another area of need. In 2015, the Jacksonville Port Academy was launched. The Academy will help bridge the gap between Port of Jacksonville employers and a skilled potential employees. By providing in-demand skills training, identified by local business leaders, an employment-ready applicant pool will be created.

The Jacksonville Port Academy concept came to light when Kevin Gay, CEO and Founder at Operation New Hope, was on a JAXPORT tour with Leadership Jacksonville.  When Brian Taylor, former CEO of JAXPORT was guiding the tour he discussed how many port jobs are unfilled due to the lack of a skilled workforce.  After meeting with several key stakeholders and garnering support from City of Jacksonville officials, the Jacksonville Port Academy was established.

Employers Benefits

  • Improved recruiting from qualified candidates vetted through the nationally recognized Ready4Work program
  • Eligible to receive an IRS Work Opportunity Tax Credit, reducing employee payroll expenditures, up to $9,600 per client hired + other tax opportunities
  • Bridge the training gap
  • Higher employee retention rates than national average

How to Participate

  • Have Job Openings to Fill


Jacksonville Port Academy Coordinator, Lori Frederick, at 904-425-6002 or  click here.

  • National Recidivism Rate 70%
  • Ready4Work Recidivism Rate 15%
  • Ready4Work Retention Rate 70%

Hiring an ex-offender, for many employers, is often seen as a risk and we at Operation New Hope understand an employer’s reluctance and perspective. We have created a program that addresses the problems, concerns and expectations surrounding employing ex-offenders.

To Qualify as JPA Participant

You must:

  • Undergo a background screening
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Pass initial and random drug tests
  • Not committed a violent or sexual crime
  • On probation with the Department of Corrections
  • Released from a DOC facility within the last year
  • Released from City/County jail within last two years
  • Actively participate in all applicable program requirements


Jacksonville Port Academy
Lori Frederick at 904-425-6002

– Kenneth Scarborough at 904-425-6002


Coming early 2017
No events scheduled at this time

Contact Us

Operation New Hope is ready to assist you in determining how to effectively plan, launch and sustain an effective reentry program in your area.  If you are interested in learning more, please call us at 904.425.6002 or click here.

For frequently asked questions click here.

JPA Board


Edythe Abdullah, JD

Edythe Abdullah has 31 years of experience in higher education. She worked in higher education for 25 years at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) at which she was the former Campus President of the Downtown Campus. Ms. Abdullah, left FSCJ to become President of Essex County College (ECC) where she was the sixth, and first female, president of ECC. Ms. Abdullah’s New Jersey community and professional affiliations were extensive. As President, Ms. Abdullah was instrumental in bringing the United Negro College Fund’s popular Empower Me Tour to ECC and achieving Middle States Reaffirmation. Ms. Abdullah was on the boards of the Newark Regional Business Partnership, the Newark Alliance, and the Newark Youth Policy Board. She sat on numerous national education advisory councils, including the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers and the National Advisory Council for Job Corps. She previously served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Florida and chaired the Jacksonville Community Council Inc.’s study on adult literacy and its impact on economic development. In March 2012, Ms. Abdullah was identified as one of the 50 most influential blacks in New Jersey by Black Village magazine. Ms. Abdullah currently works at the University of North Florida (UNF) as Interim Dean of Continuing Education. Ms. Abdullah holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida and earned two bachelor degrees from Valparaiso University in Indiana. She also holds a Leadership Certificate in the Management of Lifelong Education from Harvard University and was a Kellogg Fellow with the League for Innovation in Community Colleges.

Leslie Bart

Leslie Scott Jean-Bart is an attorney and fifth generation Jacksonville native who enjoys helping injured consumers obtain justice. Since 2000, her practice has focused on plaintiff personal injury law.

Leslie currently serves on the boards of Three Rivers Legal Services, Jacksonville Justice Association, Operation New Hope, LSF Health Systems, Operation Save Our Sons, and Northeast Florida Community Action Agency. She also volunteers as an Attorney Ad Litem and Educational Surrogate for foster children.

Her life-long interest in public service was inspired by her late grand-mother, Mary L. Singleton, the first black and first woman elected to Jacksonville City Council. Leslie was appointed by Mayor John Delaney to the Better Jacksonville Plan Citizens Oversight Committee in 2001. She was nominated by the State House of Representative’s Democratic Leader and appointed by Governor Rick Scott to the Florida Elections Commission in 2012. In 2013, Chief Judge Donald Moran appointed her to the Jacksonville Ethics Commission. She returned to serving on the Jacksonville Ethics Commission in 2017 as an appointee of Public Defender Charlie Cofer.

Lester Bass

Judge Bass currently serves as a County Judge in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. Before being appointed by Governor Rick Scott in 2014, Judge Bass served the Fourth Judicial Circuit since 2003 as General Magistrate/Hearing Officer and Civil Traffic Hearing Officer. He handled Dependency cases involving children who have been abused, abandoned, and/or neglected. He is most proud of his work with the Duval County Dependency Drug Court in which he works with parents struggling to defeat their drug addictions and reunite their families, and his work with the Independent Living Court for teens aging out of Foster Care. Magistrate Bass also conducts Baker Act hearings, Marchman Act hearings, and Civil Traffic Violations hearings.
A native of Durham, North Carolina, he is a graduate of Duke University and University of North Carolina School of Law. His past work in public interest law includes: Staff Attorney with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid; Assistant State Attorney with the Office of State Attorney, Fourth Judicial Circuit; and Assistant Public Defender with the Office of the Public Defender, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. His former private practice includes work with the law offices of Bivens, Jones and Associates; and Murray and Bass, P.A.
He is active in the Florida Family Law Inn of Court, Florida Association of Drug Court Professionals, National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Leadership Jacksonville (Class of 2009), D.W. Perkins Bar Association, and the Jacksonville Bar Association.
He is happily married to Selena Webster-Bass. They have three wonderful children: Spencer, Trinity, and Micah. He and his family are members and worship at Celebration Church. In his spare time, Magistrate Bass enjoys studying history, politics, and space exploration.

A. Quinn Bell

Quinn is the former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Suddath Companies. Quinn was instrumental in leading Suddath into what is now one of the largest moving and storage enterprises in the nation. Since 1982, the year after Suddath joined the United Van Line system, it has consistently ranked among United’s top three revenue producers. He was the past Treasurer of UniGroup, the parent company of United Van Lines and Mayflower Van Lines. He is past President of VanLiner Insurance Company.

Quinn’s other passion is the community in which he lives. Quinn is the past chair of the charitable foundations – Operation New Hope and Metro Kids Konnection. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Police Athletic League; a past member of the Board of Governors of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce; a past board member of the Jacksonville Zoo; and a member and past Chairman of the University Club. Other previous civic activities have included the Rotary Club, past board member for both St. Vincent’s Medical Center and the Leukemia Society.

L. Kinder Cannon

L. Kinder (Kin) Cannon III has been a Florida attorney since 1967. He retired from the active practice of law in 2013, but remains a senior partner of Holland & Knight LLP, where he practiced for 23 years. For the last decade of his active law practice, Kin served as General Counsel of Holland & Knight. Prior to that time, he was a business lawyer whose practice was concentrated in corporate finance and securities law. Kin’s professional experience was augmented by service for two years as a business executive responsible for corporate development and marketing.
Kin’s professional recognitions include: inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, and Florida Legal Elite (Florida Trend magazine); AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell; Fellow of the American Bar Association; and 2010 receipt of the Chesterfield Smith Lawyer Award, Holland & Knight’s highest recognition of one of its partners. In 1995, Kin served as Chair of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners and continues service as one of its Emeritus Members.
Kin earned a BA degree from Duke University and a JD degree from the University of Florida College of Law, where he was Executive Editor of the University of Florida Law Review.

Kevin T. Gay

Kevin Gay, a native of Jacksonville and a graduate of the University of Florida, is an entrepreneur and community leader with a devout commitment to North Florida. Operating for more than 15 years in the for-profit world as a business and corporate officer, Kevin chose to remove himself in 1999 and focus on creating a new model for community development. The model he envisioned and created is Operation New Hope, a Jacksonville-based CDC bent on restoring blighted urban neighborhoods and its citizens struggling with poverty’s trappings

For more than 10 years Kevin has acted as the President and CEO for Operation New Hope, and Ready4Work since its inception in 2003. Kevin’s work in Springfield caught the attention of President George W. Bush, providing the opportunity for Kevin, and ONH, to pilot the Ready4Work program, aimed at assisting ex-offenders with reentering the community—something Kevin had been doing inadvertently for four years.

Kevin’s leadership allowed Operation New Hope and Ready4Work to solidify itself as a bedrock institution in Jacksonville and as a nationally respected CDC. In 2003, Kevin was nominated by the City of Jacksonville for a Neighborhoods USA award, for which he, along with nine others, received the prestigious NUSA Notables Award; previous winners include Willard Scott and Oprah Winfrey. The same year Kevin received the first of three invitations to the White House. And in 2007, President Bill Clinton, in the book “Giving,” cited Kevin for his work with prisoner re-entry.

Kevin’s commitment to the community extends back to 1993 and Reconcile Jacksonville, an initiative born from the desire to blend communities through church and racial integration. Kevin is a founding member of Reconcile Jacksonville.

Kevin has served on more than 15 civic boards including, then President-Elect Obama’s Advisory Council, and currently serves on Florida’s Department of Corrections Prisoner Re-entry Advisory Board.

Kevin was the only CEO of a non-profit to be awarded the title of “Ultimate CEO” from the Jacksonville Business Journal in 2013 and is in the 2015 Leadership Jacksonville Class.

Doris Sias Leach

Currently updating bio. Please check back later.

Kenneth R. Scarborough

Kenneth R. Scarborough is the Program Officer and Director of Ready4Work at Operation New Hope in Jacksonville, Florida. For over 30 years he worked with boys and men in mentoring relationships, which he believes is essential for growing lives and building healthy communities. He has a BS in Business and a Master of Public Health in Health Services Adminstration from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Divinity in Youth and Family from Denver Seminary in Denver, Colorado. Mr Scarborough’s extensive work experience includes: Manhattan Psychiatric Center (NY), the NYC Department of Corrections, Neighborhood Ministries (Denver), Save Our Youth (Denver), and the Center for Action Research on  Urban Schools and Effective Leadership at the University of South Florida (Tampa) and REACHUP, Inc. (Tampa). In his current position, he oversees several programs, grants and initiatives aimed at providing formally incarcerated men and women with comprehensive wrap around services (case managment, employment skills training, life coaching, and job placement assistance) in support of them getting back on their feet and reintegrated into our communities. The overall goal  is to motivate and move individuals to become productive, responsible citizens within their family’s and community.

Paul Tutwiler

Currently updating bio. Please check back later.

Tina Wirth

Tina Wirth is the Vice President, Education and Workforce Development for the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce. In her role, she is responsible for supporting economic growth in the region via career and work readiness programs in six area counties—Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau, St. Johns and Putnam. Her department supports the needs of local employers, business prospects and K-12 as well as higher education.

Ms. Wirth has been in community and economic development for 20 years with a variety of organizations including United Way, Junior Achievement, the Jacksonville Public Library and Duval County Public Schools. She has her BA degree in Communications from the University of North Florida.

JPA Team

CEO – Kevin Gay
Coordinator – Lori Frederick


Program Officer – Kenneth Scarborough


BTC Coordinator – Paula Jamison


Housing Development Manager – Robert Ownby