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Operation New Hope is pleased to announce that we will now be offering our nationally-recognized Ready4Work reentry training and support program to people prior to release from the St. Johns County Jail. This new and exciting partnership with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is made possible because of a generous ARPA grant from the United Way of St. Johns County.
The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners allocated over $7 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to United Way-SJC to assist local, nonprofit agencies with expansion of social services. This exciting partnership has provided organizations within St. Johns County the opportunity to apply for funding to assist individuals in the community who were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Operation New Hope is thankful to be one of the nonprofit recipients to be awarded grant funding to deliver our Ready4Work reentry services behind the wall at the St. Augustine Jail.
As we rebuild our economy in the wake of COVID, we must maximize opportunity for all, especially individuals impacted by the criminal justice system. By investing in reentry programs, we reduce recidivism, corrections costs, and unemployment rates, and help identify potential employees for industries in need of capable workers. Operation New Hope currently serves people preparing for release at 30 state correctional facilities across the Florida, but this will be our first time delivering services at a county facility. This pilot program will also be the first of it’s kind in St. Johns County to deliver training and case management prior to release. We plan to expand this type of pre-release training to facilities across the State in partnership with the Florida Department or Corrections and other county jails as part of our Statewide Reentry Network.
The United Way of St. Johns County ARPA funds will be used to deliver our nationally recognized Ready4Work Career Development Training and Case Management to individuals currently detained at the St. Johns County Jail who are preparing for release. Our Career, Technical and Life Skills training and individualized release plans will prepare clients on how to manage their finances, interview for jobs, develop positive relationships, and better manage their lives. A Career Development Instructor and Case Manager will work closely with each participant to measure areas of strength and identify opportunities for personal and professional growth. Based on this assessment, a course of action is recommended to fill gaps in training or education to best prepare the client for employment. This support and training will equip participants with the skills needed to be immediately successful in securing living wage employment upon release and provide support to ensure mental and financial stability.
Thanks so much to the United Way of St. Johns County and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office for your partnership and support. We also extend our sincere gratitude to those in St. Johns County who have supported our mission since we began providing reentry services in the community in March 2020. Thanks to more than 100 committed donors and stakeholders in the city of St. Augustine and throughout St. Johns County, we continue to be able to help more people reconnect to the workforce, their families, and their community after involvement with the criminal justice system. #HopeStartsHere