CareerSource NEFL and Operation New Hope Provide Fresh Start for Young Offenders
CareerSource Northeast Florida, the regional workforce organization, and Operation New Hope have teamed up to serve young people with criminal records by providing training and support services leading to employment. CareerSource NEFL received a $1 million grant to serve 132 young adults over three years. The program will run through June 30, 2018.
The partnership recruits young people ages 16 – 24 with juvenile or adult arrests on their record. Fresh Start is a diversion program supported by prosecutors, public defenders and judges who refer participants. Referrals can come from faith-based organizations and community non-profits that serve at-risk youth, as well as members of the community.
Participants must be:
- 16 – 24 years old
- Not enrolled in school
- Previously involved with the Juvenile Justice system
- Non-violent, non-sexual offenders
- Motivated to make a change
Those with an adult arrest may participate, but individuals with adult convictions are not eligible for Fresh Start.
- Career planning
- Workforce skills training and GED classes
- Training leading to certification in hospitality, logistics, healthcare, or a skilled trade
- Mentoring advice from a volunteer life coach
- Support services
- Job placement assistance
- Follow-up services
- Assistance with the sealing or expunging of court records
Duval County’s 4th Judicial Circuit dramatically leads the state in the number of juveniles incarcerated. In the past five years, more juveniles have been incarcerated locally than in any other judicial circuit in the state (Florida Times-Union, 2015). Northeast Florida comprises about 7.5% of the population of the state (U.S. Census Bureau), yet 10% of Florida’s court-involved youth placements, probation orders, and sanctions occur in this region. Approximately 16.9% of Duval County’s population lives in poverty.
For more information:
Linda Dyke, CareerSource Northeast Florida, 904-798-0060, ext. 2133,