You might think that someone without a high school diploma, with a history of substance abuse and a prison record would never be able to find employment, but you would be wrong, thanks to an amazing program that works with the most challenging population imaginable – and succeeds.
This is The HOPE Program, based in Brooklyn, New York, staffed with dedicated professionals who mold men and women from the lowest socio-economic groups into contributing, trusted workers.
Frank, for example, after enduring unimaginable family hardships, landed on the street and turned to drugs for 30 of his 42 years, ultimately landing in prison. The drug rehab center he entered after his release referred him to HOPE, where, for the first time, he learned to use a computer and write a basic resume. With HOPE’s help, Frank, who had always loved animals, interned at a Dog Daycare Center and was finally offered a staff job, with benefits.
You can’t open a newspaper these days without reading about the struggling unemployed, and yet HOPE has defied the odds, with 73 percent of its program graduates securing jobs. Of those who found employment, close to three quarters of them still have those jobs a year later.
How on earth does this nonprofit accomplish this? The answer is a program of eight to twelve weeks of full-time “work readiness” training in retail, food services, clerical, maintenance and social services work, followed by up to 200 hours of on-the-job training internships. At the back-end of the process, HOPE offers job search, placement and retention services. Graduates can call on HOPE for help with finances, housing and education as well.
When you couple dedicated professionals with people who sincerely want to turn their lives around, and are willing to put in the requisite time and effort, miracles can happen.
For more information, go to thehopeprogram.org.
Sally Haver is a senior career management consultant with a broad-based business background encompassing human resources consulting, recruitment, advertising/marketing, music production, academia and show business. Now retired, she is an editor and a frequent contributor to The Connector, covering the emerging new work force of retirees, who are choosing to work for the sheer love of it.