On Wednesday October 10th, host Brenda Konkel spoke with Executive Director of Operation Fresh Start Greg Markel about efforts to close the achievement gap between white and minority students in the Madison public schools as well as the positive impact of groups like Operation Fresh Start on the lives of the individuals involved.
According to their website, “Operation Fresh Start has provided comprehensive employment and training services to 7,000 youth and adults in Dane County, Wisconsin, since 1970. The organization’s chief training approach is to renovate or construct single family houses for sale to low and very-low income first-time home buyers. Over two hundred houses have been completed to date. The housing sites are the vehicles for employment training and are at the center of a comprehensive program of educational and support services. Instruction in basic skills and preparation for the high school equivalency examination, instruction in independent living skills, leadership development, counseling, pre-employment skills training, placement in a job or post-secondary education, and supportive follow-up are vital components of the program.”
Operation Fresh Start has been a great success: “OFS has assisted 80% of its participants to satisfactorily complete the goals of the program – job placement and/or graduation to post-secondary schooling. OFS’ long-term follow-up studies show that 60-65% of graduates remain self-sufficient. A June 2004 survey by Brandeis and Temple universities, commissioned by YouthBuild USA, substantiates these studies, finding that 82% of OFS graduates are currently in post-secondary education or jobs averaging $11.85/hour.”
Read more about OFS:
Listen to the entire program: