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Operation Empower

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $900,000)

The Pinellas Ex Offender Reentry Coalition (PERC) proposes Operation Empower, a comprehensive community-based program geared towards improving employment services and connections for Returning Citizens. The primary subrecipients are PowerNet of Tampa; the Florida Dream Center; the People of Manufacturing; Abe Brown Ministries; and the Institute for Equitable Development.


Geographic Target and Correctional Partner


The project will prioritize medium and high-risk male and female adults returning from the Florida Department of Corrections to targeted underserved communities located in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties through Community Release Centers.


Goals and Objectives


The overall goal of Operation Empower (OE) is to demonstrate impact, social service efficiency and the public safety benefit of utilizing: 1) the GEM (Group intervention, Education/training, Mentoring/ coaching) Leadership Development Program – a strength-based, community-focused, relationship-driven strategy to deliver a pre and post-release cognitive-behavioral rehabilitation program; 2) comprehensive case management – a collaborative and coordinated approach to linking individuals returning from prison with appropriate social and human service providers to achieve the objectives in the case plan to ensure their long-term success, 3) Peer Coaching – peers who provides mentoring, encouragement, advice and support to the program participant in order to keep their focus on long-term success; 4) the Reentry Information Management System (RIMS) - a web-based data collection and reporting system that systematically stores and analyses program participation, client social and criminogenic assessments, case management information, community resources by zip code as well as program fidelity and evaluation data; 5) pre-release RNR assessment leading to individualized case plans and career pathways for post-release employment and services; and 6) stacked certifications obtained PRE-RELEASE in NCCER Core, NCCER carpentry, OSHA 30, Forklift licensing, advanced manufacturing credentialing, and workplace readiness skills.  Partnerships of PERC for this project are based on the highest targeted in demand occupations for Tampa Bay and Florida as outlined by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which will lead to WIOA based training grants through the local workforce boards, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Specific objectives include the recruit of 90 participants in the 24-month program with a completion rate over 80% based on tracking/monitoring; tracking and monitoring of personal networks in the reentry process; centralized data system based around the RNR assessment tool with progress note features; increased community awareness geared towards sustainability; and Employment Placement (75%) and Retention Rates (75% and scaling) tracked in the system developed for this program.


Priority Considerations


Priority Consideration being sought: 1(A) and 1(B)

Date Created: September 29, 2022