Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $900,000)
Tampa Bay Academy of Hope (TBAH) proposes to implement the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Program (JOBS). The purpose of the JOBS Reentry Project is to provide an evidence-based and data-informed approach for a program that will provide meaningful opportunities, interrupt the cycle of unemployment, improve economic mobility, and promote reentry success of formerly incarcerated adults returning to Hillsborough and Polk County, Florida. JOBS will ensure that identified returning citizens have an integrated pre and post release reentry program that includes case management, job/life coaching, apprenticeship opportunities and sustainable employment - with transitional support service coordination (including mental health and substance abuse counseling, housing assistance, and educational achievement assistance), and structured family and community support. JOBS will contribute to reduced recidivism, reentry success, enhanced employment and economic mobility prospects for incarcerated adults reentering the workforce, heightened community safety, and strengthened capacities of families and reentry agencies to serve the critical needs of returning citizens. The program will serve one hundred and fifty (150) adult returning citizens who are age 18 and over both male and female over the course of three years. TBAH will promote racial equity and the removal of barriers to access for communities that have been historically underserved, marginalized and adversely affected by inequity. TBAH also provided an assessment of the local demand of employers in the service area provided by Career Source, partnering with the agency for job training grants for work experience and apprenticeships. Each participant receives individualized career planning as a part of post-release services. TBAH provided letters of commitment from local employers offering employment opportunities. Each participant is tracked and monitored by assigned case manager and job coach for a period of six months after initial employment. TBAH and its partners will form the Career Pathways Collaborative (CPC) to work together in developing and implementing the program to assist returning citizens transitioning back leading to sustainable employment. Program goals include: 1) Reduce recidivism rates by at least 10% of the state average; 2) At least 70% of participants participate in career training while incarcerated (pre-release); 3) 100% receive an Individualized Post-Release Reentry Employment Plan (IEP) within 60 days of entering the program; 4) Employment placement rates of at least 70% in local demand industries for participants qualified to work; and 5) track and monitor participant’s employment outcomes.