• The NextFifty Comes to Atlanta

    Integrity in partnership with the Center for Workforce Inclusion are initiating a new to program as part of the NextFifty Initiative that will target job training and placement to formerly incarcerated job seekers over age 50 living in the Westside community of Atlanta. In addition to job skill training, the NextFifty Initiative will bring together a coalition of partners to assist clients with a range of obstacles to employment including unstable housing or homelessness, poor physical health, mental health, and substance abuse problems, food insecurity, lack of transportation, and the stigma that incarceration carries. The NextFifty operates out of a number of program sites in Colorado.  The new Integrity/CWI program is the first NextFifty  site in Georgia. CWI Labs’ s partnership with the NextFifty Initiative in Denver, Colorado and led to seven out of every eight participating older, ex-offender clients finding full-time employment. “Older, formerly incarcerated people face high barriers to employment under the best of circumstances,” said Gary A. Officer, Founder, and CEO of CWI Labs. “As they attempt to reenter the workforce in a post-COVID world, however, they will face increased competition, fewer employers, and the need for skills that did not exist when many of them entered the justice system.” The program will counter this current reality of unemployment among formerly incarcerated people where the employment rate is, on average, five times higher than the unemployment rate for the general U.S. population. To find out more about this program, you can call the office at (404) 458-6413.

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  • Introducing the English Avenue/Vine City Community Collaborative

    Integrity is one of the founding members of the English Avenue/Vine City Community Collaborative.  The new Collaborative was convened in April to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on residents of the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods.  The Collaborative connects community-based organizations with churches and community-based non-profits to identify gaps, needs and issues to support residents. The partnership includes two neighborhood organizations: the Vine City Civic Association and English Avenue Neighborhood Association, two churches: New Jerusalem Baptist Church and Higher Ground Empowerment Center, plus Choice Neighborhoods, Greater Vine City Opportunities Program, Historic Westside Gardens, Integrity Transformations CDC, Oasis of Vine City, and Sisters Action Team.  The Collaborative's initial project is the COVID-19 Health and Safety Initiative.  Free health and safety packs including fresh fruits and safety care items including masks, gloves and hand sanitizer are being distributed at four neighborhood sites.

    • Tuesday at 1 pm at New Jerusalem Baptist Church
    • Wednesday at 11am at the Higher Ground Empowerment Center
    • Thursday at 1pm at the corner of Lowery and Fox Streets
    • Saturday at 11 am at the Vine City Civic Association office on Boone Boulevard.
    The Collaborative distributed over 200 bags of fruits and care packages on April 20th and 21st, its first two days in operation. This is just the first initiative of the Collaborative. We look forward to even greater things in the future.

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  • The Westside NET Program Goes Online

    Integrity begun its newest iteration of the Westside NET program on April 20th, online learning.  The traditional NET program has been converted into a shorter program that will meet Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9am to 12 noon for 2 weeks. Integrity staff are also modifying the class exercises add a greater number of small group exercises and reduce the number of one-on-one exercises. Before starting the online class, prospective students must complete their intake activities with their Case Managers and complete the program orientation that has been available online since March 23rd. Once they have completed their orientation, students can participate in the classes online from their phone or computer. If they plan to use their phone, they will need to download the ZOOM app to connect to the class.  The second online graduation took place on last Friday on May 22nd. “I believe that this new avenue of learning will move Integrity to a new level.” Said Ursula Hodge, the Westside NET Program Manager.  “I hope the success of the program will allow Integrity to continue online training as an option for those facing physical barriers such as the lack of transportation or childcare, even after the shelter-in-place requirements end.”

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  • Culinary Arts Program

    The Culinary Arts program of Westside Works is hosted by Levy Restaurants, the food provider in Mercedes Benz Stadium. Levy prides itself in positioning their students for success in the service industry and their newest program instructor Latisha Rodgers, is making sure they will leave their Culinary Arts institute more prepared technically and professionally than they ever dared to imagine. Latisha Rodgers, also known as Chef Tish, is a native of Detroit, MI and a US Navy Veteran with over 20 years of combined experience in the food service industry. Her culinary arts journey began while she was stationed in Gaeta and Sicily, Italy. Latisha began to cook professionally shortly after and now can certainly tell you everything you need to know about Italian cuisine. She has certificates from Le Cordon Bleu Atlanta in baking and pastry. She also has an associate degree from Le Cordon Bleu Scottsdale and has been a farm to table chef for the last nine years. Latisha has further crafted her skills by working with metro Atlanta restaurants including Café Istanbul in Decatur, The Ritz Carlton Buckhead, Ford Fry/Rocket farm restaurants, and the eclectic SOS Tiki Bar. Chef Tish is sharing her global culinary experience with the Westside Work’s Culinary Arts program. The six week-long program teaches culinary techniques such as knife skills, mise en place (everything in its place), industry terminology, food service safety and sanitation, as well as concrete employability skills. Culinary arts program participants can also work with local community programs in the garden to table movement Participants can earn both Servesafe Food Safety and Sanitation Manager certification. Job Placement and career opportunities are provided for graduates. Want to get started? The next program session is scheduled to begin in March.

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  • Westside Digital Skills Development

    Integrity’s Digital Skills Development class is an entry level course designed to introduce users to basic computer principles. It is a basic course; it requires little to no experience to complete the class. The class provides basic information technology (IT) literacy and ensures one understands the terminology and the functionality of the basic Microsoft Office Suite. Students learn how to access the software and their documents from a desktop, laptop or personal phone. After the initial class session, each student’s next step varies based on the level of computer literacy they have. Students with little to no computer experience focus on the basic skills and then progress to cover some of the more complex functions of Microsoft Word. Students are tested before they begin the program and then tested again at the conclusion of the course. Study capabilities are assessed using the Northstar digital literacy standard. Students continue to work in a specific module until they receive a score of 85 or better. Most employers recognize this score as the level of proficiency needed to effectively participate in today’s office environments.  Once students are proficient at a particular skill level in the Word software, they may pursue a higher level of competency or receive training in another software like Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint or a database program. Janet was a typical program participant who is part of the AARP Senior Program. At age 62, Janet had never touched a computer in her life and didn’t believe she was likely to be successful gaining greater computer literacy. But by the close of her four-week training session she had received the required score of 85 and was recommended for employment. You too can strengthen your computer skills and gain employment. The next session of Integrity’s Digital Literacy training begins on February 17th.

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