ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A new program is coming to Rockford after Goodwill was granted $4.5 million. It will give more than 100 young adults a second chance, after being involved in the justice system.
"The more we can help the more that helps the community," said Julian Holt, Goodwill Northern Illinois.
Holt helps people who are facing barriers because of their background get back on their feet.
"Having a slight background myself, I kind of have an infinity for those who think they can't get a job. Just because you have a background doesn't affect your heart or your passion to be a part of the community," Holt said.
Holt currently works with nearly 20 people each year, but soon he'll be able to help many more.
"In our local community where we are going to support about 100 people,” said Courtney Geiger, Goodwill Industries.
Rockford’s Goodwill receives its grant through the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration for a program called Goodwill Lifelaunch.
"We will be able to give very intense services including case management, transportation support, education, and employment," Geiger said.
This will be the first time goodwill can provide all the financial help needed for education.
"Education provides individuals the opportunity for better jobs so they can avoid the cycle of criminal behavior and activity," Geiger said.
The Rockford police department agrees, adding that they offer many programs for kids so they grow up knowing how to make the right choice.
"If you get started on the building blocks at a young age, that's something that they'll carry with them all their life. So when they get to those late teens or early 20 they've learned to make those right decisions," said Lt. Robert Reffett.
This program is aimed at helping young adults ages 18 to 24 with a criminal background and will start in the fall.