A community partnership was formed last year to help quickly move St. Louis ex-offenders from prison to the work force – and keep them there, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The program is managed by the Area Resources for Community Human Services. The city is home to more than 22,500 ex-offenders, said Wendell Kimbrough, ARCHS’ CEO. The program offers desperately needed job-training courses that, in turn, produce more opportunities for ex-offenders.
ARCHS teamed with 18 partners, including businesses, faith-based organizations, and community groups. In addition to job training, the program helps in finding housing, drug and mental health counseling, job-readiness training, transportation – and employers willing to give felons a second chance. The ARCHS partnership was modeled after similar programs in Cleveland, Dallas, Seattle, and Charlotte, N.C. “We want them to get a job they are interested in, a well-paying position so they can get a stake in the American dream,” said Doug Burris, chief U.S. probation officer for the eastern district of Missouri. Most of ARCHS’ funding comes from a $1.9 million Labor Department grant, with community partners adding $900,000.