Kenwood resident Gloria Batey has launched Hood 2 Hire (H2H), a new nonprofit that will teach professional skills classes beginning in September.
She wants to enroll 10 people, aged 16 and up, recruiting through community, religious and political organizations, with programming first centered around food service. Participants will receive a weekly stipend, though how much will depend on what amount of money H2H raises before programming begins.
"That decision was made because there were so many restaurants that had to shut down because of COVID that we thought it would be the perfect market to grow our participants for immediate hire," she said. "The first one is really where we are going to be testing materials, gathering input from people who will be recruited to attend the program."
Beyond certification for food service and, eventually, other professional skills like computer competency, Batey wants to teach general workforce preparedness and bearing.
"If we're taking people from the habitats of their home and other positions that really are not geared towards interaction, there needs to be some grooming done there," she said.
Batey plans to evaluate cohort size and program length to see if she can accommodate more participant flow through the program. Funding will come through grants and individual donors.
While H2H has a goal of working with individuals, Batey says it's linked to a broader goal.
"If we can motivate people to do six months, their salaries could double based on promotion, then that starts more of a career trajectory than just working the front line in transient positions that really are just going to limit them in life," she said.
"We can get people off the streets, especially Black young men, whose unemployment rate is almost 40%," she said. "If we can get them off the street, we can change the trajectory of them possibly going into the criminal element. It provides some health care for them. There're socioeconomic, systemic impacts to get people to work, because I'm a firm believer that jobs and education fight crime as well as offering the ability to be self-sustaining."