What have we learned in the past year, and where are we going in 2020?

2019 has been a year of growth at Hope 2 Hire. More than 100 students graduated from the building construction technology, masonry and logistics programs within Shelby County Department of Corrections facilities, with the support of educators from Tennessee College of Applied Technology. Of those graduates, 73 were released from incarceration – 53 of whom now maintain gainful employment.

These numbers are a testament to our commitment to supporting currently and previously incarcerated individuals by providing access to the tools and education needed to thrive within a career path upon release. We couldn’t do this meaningful work without your generosity!

But there is still room for growth. In the last year, we’ve refined our practices, honing our skills so we can impact the lives of more people in Shelby County. One hypothesis we’re testing is that increased access to varied technical programming can help reduce recidivism by providing students with the opportunity to pursue a career that fits their skills and interests.

To this end, we recently announced a partnership with the University of Memphis’ Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality. You can read more about it here. The addition of the culinary arts program to our Hope 2 Hire curriculum creates another path to meaningful employment for our students. Through this program, students can earn a certification from the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission and use credits earned while incarcerated to continue their education at the University of Memphis upon release. They’ll have internship opportunities through partner restaurants and receive hands-on training in the on-campus restaurant. Upon release, they’ll have ample employment opportunities – trained culinary technicians are in high-demand in Memphis.

This venture with the University of Memphis could not have been possible without R. Brad Martin, former interim president and member of the board of trustees, who will be the guest speaker at HopeWorks’ 2020 Morning of Hope Breakfast. [link?]

As we head into 2020, we’re thankful for your support as we continue to provide essential support and resources to our students. If you’re interested in getting involved or making a donation, email us at info@hope2hire.org or give us a call at 901-272-3700.

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