About Operation New Hope


Operation New Hope provides support, life and job skills training for people with a history of involvement with the criminal justice system, and places them in employment that offers a sustainable quality of life. 


Operation New Hope works to build a stronger community by creating opportunities to realize second chances and reduce recidivism. 


At Operation New Hope, we are honest, respectful, and forthright in our actions, adhering to the highest ethical standards. We listen and learn from each other and align ourselves with partners to leverage our collective capabilities in creating an inclusive environment. We are passionate about our mission, committed to our communities and work every day to earn their trust. We approach each opportunity with a belief that nothing is impossible, challenging everyone to make a difference.


Inspired by a deep faith and commitment to community, Kevin Gay founded Operation New Hope in 1999 to address the problems facing Jacksonville’s Historic Springfield neighborhood - poverty, crime, homelessness, disrepair, and drug addiction. Despite many challenges, the organization successfully brought together a community once lost to blight, poverty, and outright neglect.

Our success caught the attention of President Bush and in 2003, he selected Operation New Hope as the pilot site for the Ready4Work program. Since then, our work has been praised by the last four White House Administrations, as well as, federal, state and local representatives, law enforcement officers, and business leaders. In 2019, Vice President Mike Pence praised Ready4Work saying it is a "model program not only in Florida but for the United States." Internationally, we have been recognized by House of Mandela as a model program for the world.

With over 20 years of experience providing reentry services in Northeast Florida, Operation New Hope is the leader in the field. United by the belief that we all have the power to change our lives for better, the organization is lead and staffed by people who are called by their faith to serve people hoping to transform their lives through employment. We now deliver the Ready4Release and Ready4Work programs to address the problems, concerns, and expectations surrounding reentry and employing the formerly incarcerated.


[Ready4Release] - Working in collaboration with the Department of Corrections, Operation New Hope successfully delivers pre-release services to 17 facilities in Florida. Our dedicated Ready4Release team targets qualified inmates and presents Ready4Work program details. Experienced Case Managers enroll interested clients and build an individualized release plan to facilitate a smooth transition back into the community. By meeting with clients monthly during the 90 days prior to their release, we bridge the reentry divide to ensure adequate housing, transportation, and job training. The success of the program is evident in the transformation stories of our clients, enhanced hiring practices for employment partners, healthier communities and families, reduced recidivism, and better public safety.

[Ready4Work] - Implementing a comprehensive 4-pronged approach (case management, supportive services, job training, and job placement assistance), our Ready4Work reentry programs ensures each client succeeds. Our Ready4Work program is based on best practices outlined by the U.S. Department of Labor and is supported by independent verification.

Once enrolled in the Ready4Work program, participants are required to remain drug-free and attend a comprehensive job training program featuring life and employment skills. Clients also receive supportive services tailored to meet their personal needs and goals. Clients are paired with a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Case Manager who develop and implement an individualized plan of care. Each client is also assigned a Job Coach to provide guidance and support, leading to job placement with targeted employment partners. Our Business Development Managers works closely with employers to help them understand the value of hiring Ready4Work graduates which strengthens families and the economy in the communities we serve. We also work with post-secondary educational institutions to address the skills gap of employment needs and offer vocational training to provide our clients with a competitive edge that leads to living wage employment.

Poverty and financial hardship for the formerly incarcerated are main drivers of recidivism. To alleviate immediate financial hardship, Ready4Work clients can earn stipends and incentives while enrolled in the program, and receive financial support to address transitional housing, transportation, vital documents, food and clothing.


Operation New Hope cultivates stronger communities by creating opportunities to realize second chances and reduce recidivism through strategic partnerships with the judicial system, local businesses, faith-based organizations, and community partners.

Building Cities of Second Chances

Operation New Hope is poised to expand our Ready4Release and Ready4Work programs to additional locations around the state to address the critical needs of the thousands of people returning every month from Florida's jails and prisons. As we expand into new communities, we will build on existing relationships and foster new community coalitions. This time-tested strategy will allow us to fully understand the unique needs of each region and develop relationships necessary to generate additional philanthropic funds to match State support.

By building Cities of Second Chances, we connect returning citizens to their community and motivate program participants to become productive, responsible citizens saving taxpayers millions of dollars by avoiding repeated cost of incarceration and lost tax revenue.


Operation New hope started as a way to revitalize the Springfield area in downtown Jacksonville


Ready4Work® program Launches


Ready4Work® Program Replicated in Hillsborough


Operation New Hope Breaks Ground On Springfield Apartment Complex


Jacksonville companies join ‘ban the box’ movement


Ready4Work® Program Replicated in Tallahassee


New Jacksonville Port Academy Quickly Prepares Ex-Offenders For Work


Kevin Meets with Current Whitehouse Administration over expansion of Ready4Work®


Duval County rolls out drivers license restoration program


HUD Secretary Ben Carson visits Jacksonville and Operation New Hope

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