In Jacksonville, we have worked for decades to eradicate poverty by empowering women, children and families with the educational tools, life skills, economic opportunities and community support they need to live and thrive. Current initiatives include:
Beaver Street Enterprise Center, the region’s only core-city business incubator, was launched in 2001 as an initiative of FreshMinistries, Inc., with support from the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation, and opened its doors in 2003. Located in the City’s Northwest Quadrant in both State Enterprise and Federal Empowerment Zone, the Center has, with support from a number of partners:
- Helped launch more than 100 new businesses
- Created more than 2000 new jobs
- Generated more than $300 million in economic impact
- Was voted Business Incubator of the Year by the National Business Incubator Association in 2010
- Produced companies that are included on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 500 fastest growing businesses in America
- Trained more than 900 unemployed and underemployed individals for employment in the hospitality and healthcare fields. Eighty-seven percent of program graduates gain and retain employment for more than 9 months.
LifePoint Career Institute, providing job training at no cost to students in nursing, hospitality and (beginning in 2015) aquaponics farming. Programs include:
- Hospitality training: Training to become a hospitality specialist includes 10 weeks (300 hours) of training in a simulated hotel environment. LifeSkills lessons include job specific training for each technical area, self-management, money management, problem solving techniques, time management, grooming, and self esteem issues. Job search assistance includes classes on setting personal goals, working skills, resume writing, completing applications, work ethics and interviewing skills. We offer a substantial computer learning center, funded by Winn-Dixie Foundation, and a Smart Classroom learning center funded by the Scheidel Foundation.
- Training to prepare for the State Certified Nursing Assistant exam: This program includes 8 weeks (240 hours) of training in a simulated hospital environment. LifeSkills lessons include job specific training for each technical area, self-management, money management, problem solving techniques, time management, grooming, and self-esteem issues. Job search assistance includes classes on setting personal goals, working skills, resume writing, completing applications, work ethics and interviewing skills. We offer a substantial computer learning center, funded by Winn-Dixie Foundation.
Fresh Futures Youth Program, helping more than 100 young people each year gain life skills and summer employment. Fresh Futures is a year-round educational and youth employment initiative for youth ages 14-19. The program focuses on using education and social outreach to help adolescents set healthy goals, succeed in school and work, and improve their mental and physical well-being. Qualifying students are placed in summer jobs, thanks to our partnerships with employers throughout the community.
Fresh Path, offering a new start to youth who have come into contact with the criminal justice system. The mission of this program, funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, is to address the educational and employment barriers of 188 court-involved youth and young adults while helping them develop the employment skills needed to obtain good jobs. The program is equips court-involved youth with skills to enable them to find work and earn higher wages and helps participants move forward successfully by combining the most promising workforce and juvenile justice strategies available.
Mentoring and tutoring open to all school students at the Weaver Center for Community Outreach.
Through the years, FreshMinistries has also helped create affordable housing in East Jacksonville, public safety projects with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, training and job opportunity for ex-offenders, and family support classes based on Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families.”