Word of Hope Ministries, Inc. is among deserving non-profit organizations to receive sought-after grant. The Department of Labor announced over $20.5 million in grants for the Reintegration of Ex-Offender – Adult Program to 18 nonprofit organizations across the country. These grants will be used to fund employment-related services for formerly incarcerated adults who are returning to high-poverty, high-crime communities.
“This was not a continuation grant and only 18 grants would be awarded throughout the country,” Bishop McClelland, Director of Word of Hope Ministries, explains. “We were one of the 18, and we are very thankful. In our community many people are facing many challenges but for the past 16 years, Word of Hope has provided program services in the areas of Job Placement and Training, Technology, Mentoring, Health Care, ATODA, Social Service, and Prisoner Reentry. Word of Hope is making a difference by giving hope and help to individuals and families. With this grant we will continue to serve and touch the lives of people in our community.”
The Reintegration of Ex-Offenders – Adult Program is designed to strengthen urban communities through an employment-centered program that incorporates mentoring, job training, and other comprehensive transitional services. In 2010, nearly 709,000 people were released from state and federal prisons, an increase of almost 20 percent from 2002. Research indicates that, without assistance to make a successful transition, the majority of former offenders return to criminal activity. These statistics are all too familiar to Word of Hope, who rallies the help of partners in bettering the community. “The Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB) is very pleased that Word of Hope Ministries has once again received the DOL REXO grant. Word of Hope Ministries has an excellent nationally recognized model that has assisted hundreds of individuals returning from incarceration with gaining employment and addressing barriers. The MAWIB is excited to be a partner with this initiative and will be working closely with Word of Hope Ministries,” says Donald Sykes, CEO of MAWIB.
Now in its 16th year of operation, Word of Hope Ministries, Inc. is a faith-based community ministry created by Bishop C.H. McClelland who is the pastor of the Holy Cathedral Church of God in Christ. While the main purpose is to provide spiritual empowerment, Word of Hope realizes that its message is more readily accepted when it takes an active role in bringing social and economic change to the residents of the Sherman Park and surrounding communities.
More than 23,000 community residents have received services through Word of Hope’s range of programs to raise their standard of living. This was demonstrated during a recent 3-year U.S. Department of Labor Generation 3 Prisoner Reentry Grant (ending February 2012), in which Word of Hope exceeded performance goals by enrolling 338 participants, placing 226 participants in jobs, obtaining a job retention rate of 76%, and reducing recidivism to 17%.