The current low unemployment rate in Louisville suggests the local job market is thriving. A workforce development program run by Goodwill is making sure that booming employment market reaches all levels of Louisville society.
RISE (Reintegrating Individuals Successfully Everyday) is a Goodwill program that helps people in the greater Louisville area who are eligible for Medicaid or have been incarcerated find jobs. It recently received a $90,000 grant from UnitedHealthcare to expand its work.
The grant will enroll more participants looking to overcome barriers to finding a job by equipping them with skills that lead to long-term employment. Goodwill provides expungement clinics, which help people clear certain court cases from their records, as well as literacy classes, health and wellness presentations, plus career-development resources. To further help participants of the program find gainful employment, all RISE graduates will receive a free laptop.
“I wasn’t quite sure where to turn for support,” said Tiffany Abernathy, a RISE participant and single mother who credits the program for giving her the ability to get back on her feet. "RISE showed me how to be more professional. It helped me earn certificates in financial budgeting and forklift operation, which has opened a lot of opportunities for me.”
The grant announcement occurred in June at Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. Amy Johnston, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kentucky, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Kristen Harrod, director of re-entry services of Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Corrections and Amy Luttrell, CEO of Goodwill Kentucky were all in attendance to meet with current RISE participants and previous graduates.
“Other states are looking at Kentucky as an example,” Harrod said. “Recently, Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley was in the White House and the President himself said, ‘Look at what they’re doing in Kentucky.’ And that’s not what the department of corrections is doing alone. It’s what’s happening because of these partnerships.”
“At UnitedHealthcare, we look at an individual’s medical needs, but also at behavioral, functional and social needs, which are supported by programs like RISE,” Johnston said. “The unique value that managed care offers Kentuckians includes working with community-based organizations to identify and address areas that affect health outcomes and quality of life. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Goodwill Kentucky on this program.”
RISE is currently available in Louisville, with the possibility of expanding statewide in 2020.