When COVID-19 put a halt to CookWell training sessions, it came with a silver lining: the freed-up time allowed us to plan a program that will raise the number of people we train and strengthen our network of partners.
It’s called WorkWell. Like CookWell, this new program will equip returning citizens with workplace skills, but the training won’t be tied to a single sector. Instruction in areas such as financial literacy and teamwork will position graduates for jobs in industries including construction, warehousing, and retail. In addition to trauma-healing support, trainees will receive transportation passes, meals, and stipends, and after graduation they’ll be guaranteed employment, if we can line up enough supportive employers.
In this effort we have three outstanding new partners: Uplift Solutions, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit dedicated to helping the formerly incarcerated gain long-term employment (see photo above), the City of Trenton’s Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens, and the United Way of Greater Mercer County, which will connect trainees with wraparound services for housing, medical insurance, and childcare. Our new partners are excited about WorkWell, and we’re excited about the resources they’ll bring to help us fulfill our mission.
Thanks to a generous grant from a private foundation, the first six-week cycle of WorkWell is beginning in April 2021. Our long-term plan is to launch additional industry-specific work programs like CookWell under the umbrella of WorkWell. When each new program is launched, we’ll let you know. Stay tuned!