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'It Gives You Hope': 'Keys 2 Work' Teaches Indiana Ex-Offenders, Homeless Life-Changing Job Skills

12-08-2021
Image Credit: WRTV News/Recycle Force
Image Credit: WRTV News/Recycle Force

One Indiana organization is helping the homeless and former inmates find stable employment so they can become a part of their community again.

Keys 2 Work in Indianapolis has been assisting these individuals, guiding them in overcoming the hardships of getting re-established in the workforce since 1996. 

Services offered to clients include employment assistance, mentoring, and job placement through a unique performance model called "ABC."

It stands for any job, a better job, and a career. Many of Keys 2 Work's clients begin by working for their sister organization, Recycle Force, which strives to reduce crime while improving the environment through the reuse of electronics.

Glenn Johnson, senior director of business development for Keys 2 Work, told WRTV that no one is exempt from making mistakes and it's important to have a place that will help people get a fresh start.

"People are people. We are not perfect," Johnson explained. "Everyone has their own mistakes. Everyone has to be rebuilt from their mistakes. Recycle Force is a good space for that. They get industry-recognized credentials. Once they get a decent handle on life itself, we transition them over into that better job." 

And there are additional employer partners in Indianapolis, such as the Department of Public Works (DPW), that aids in the process of job development.

"This is a space where a lot of folks coming home are comfortable being in," said Shawn Brock, deputy director for DPW Solid Waste Services. "They are comfortable working with their hands, moving around, and being a part of the community."

After spending 16 years behind bars, Christopher Harris told WRTV that Key 2 Work has given him a second chance at life.

"I came out, worked 90 days. They gave me an interview and I've been here for three years now," Harris noted. "It's really been a good opportunity for me. It's allowed me to land back on my feet and have my own place, my own vehicle," Harris said. "When you have a job, it gives you hope. It gives you confidence."

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