After thorough investigation of social service providers in the Atlanta area, New Hope founders identified a significant gap; few, if any, organizations were focused on helping at-risk individuals permanently break out of the cycle of poverty. A year of research revealed STRIVE International as a solid model for workforce development. Established over 30 years ago, STRIVE has affiliates in 16 US cities and three countries and a proven record of job training and placement for people in hardship. In 2009 New Hope Enterprises was granted non-profit status and became Atlanta’s STRIVE affiliate. Many people seeking employment have not been exposed to good work models and need assistance with soft skills before continuing with hard skills training. New Hope training is for men and women, ages 18-62, who are motivated to learn and want full employment, starting with ‘soft skills’ or ‘employability skills’ before hard-skills training. STRIVE focuses on participants’ lives and the decisions they made which impacted them negatively. They receive one-on-one coaching by highly trained leaders; several are themselves STRIVE graduates. New Hope’s emphasis on personal growth and accountability is critical to participants’ success. Participants know that they can be “fired” for not following the rules, including punctuality, professional attire and appropriate language, which mirror the expectations of employers. All participants are background-checked to clarify any job challenges. Thus, people with a criminal record cannot become State certified as a Nursing Assistant in Georgia. Some employers are willing to work with ex-offenders trained in other job skills. Following STRIVE graduation, all participants take two weeks of Digital Literacy Training. Additional hard skills training is optional: Certified Nurse Assistant, Microsoft Operations, Construction, Culinary Arts or Auto Mechanics. Our goal is to place 80% of our STRIVE graduates into jobs this year.
Funded by Atlanta, GA (August 2016)