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Jacksonville, Florida – Operation New Hope recently announced the addition of new vocational training pathways as extensions to its nationally acclaimed Ready4Work program. The new program offerings will enable men and women who were formerly incarcerated the opportunity to skill surge in a field of their interest and better prepare them for job openings available to them through the organizations’ group of employment partners.
Operation New Hope began nearly 20 years ago in the Springfield neighborhood of Jacksonville as a community development organization focused on rebuilding homes in the historic, but economically impoverished community. Kevin Gay, Founder and CEO, recognized the need for broader life and skills training for many of the unemployed in the area, and the organization evolved into a reentry service provider, officially launching Ready4Work in 2003. The home-building and development operations were retired in 2017 so that the organization could focus on its award-winning job training efforts. The additional vocational pathways are a natural extension of the organizations’ strategy to reduce recidivism by placing its clients in jobs that provide a sustainable income, rather than a minimum wage.
Operation New Hope works directly with Florida State College of Jacksonville and the University of North Florida in developing course curriculum. Rather than pay a tuition, the clients of Operation New Hope are offered the training at no cost. In some cases, clients are eligible to receive a conditional basic income in the form of a small stipend, that allows them to stay engaged with the course long enough to graduate, and acquire the skills needed for higher paying jobs. Kevin Gay says of the program, ” We believe in a hand-up, not a hand-out and our data suggests that if we can keep clients engaged with us through the most critical time for them after being released from prison or jail, their chance of success is significantly higher.”