The CROP Organization’s Career Campus is a live-in training facility that serves returning citizens by providing a short-term housing solution throughout their participation in the innovative 18-month Ready for Life program. Residents at the Career Campus are provided with full amenities and weekly stipends to facilitate an optimal learning environment over the course of the training program.
The Four Pillars to Successful Reentry
Personal Leadership and Soft-Skills Development
During the first six months of the Ready for Life program, participants are guided through a combination of personal leadership training and soft-skills development in Leadership for Life. CROP’s personal leadership training involves an impactful curriculum that empowers its participants, thereby helping them to become authentic leaders of their own lives. This innovative course of study utilizes participants’ experiences as their foundation for learning and cultivates an attitude of responsible productivity.
CROP’s soft-skills development classes, which run parallel to the leadership training, represent CROP’s deep appreciation of the fact that returning citizens require specific tools in order to thrive within the work environment. Participants are taught a comprehensive battery of soft skills that include:
- Emotional Intelligence
- Critical Thinking
- Focus Mastery
- Communication Skills
- Growth Mindset
- Google and Microsoft Suites
Skilled for Life marks the beginning of participants’ hard-skills training on one of three vocational tracks. In addition, transitional life-skills courses that focus on interpersonal relationships, group therapy, individual counseling, and financial literacy are introduced during the Skilled for Life portion of the program. Bonus training in entrepreneurship is then made available to participants once they have completed one of the three vocational tracks outlined below.
UX/UI Design Specialization provides participants with the opportunity to bring a creative, design-centric approach to user interface/experience through practical skill-based instruction and visual communications. Participants learn current best practices in UX design and apply them to create effective and compelling screen-based experiences.
Business-to-Business (B2B) Sales is a model that involves one business selling products or services to another. B2B sales typically have higher order values, longer sales cycles, and are often more complex than other forms of sales. Participants are taught the intricacies of effective B2B sales, which provide them with a marketable skill in the business and tech sector.
Alcohol and Other Drug Counseling Certification is a hard-skills track that provides participants with an opportunity to serve the community by helping people who struggle with substance abuse and addiction. Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) counselors stand on the front lines of the recovery community, and program participants who choose this track come away with a certification that makes them immediately employable at any AOD agency.
Entrepreneurship training is an option for participants who have completed one of the previous three tracks. This training will prepare people for successful reentry by improving their confidence and teaching skills necessary for economic self-sufficiency. This program will provide critical lessons on how to successfully start a business and the value of establishing an entrepreneurial mindset.
During the final six months of the Ready for Life program, residents will intern with CROP’s partnering tech companies and substance abuse counseling agencies. Residents will work at their internship sites full-time, four-and-a-half days a week, returning to the Career Campus at the end of their workdays.
On Fridays, for a half-day, residents will engage in continued skills-development workshops. During these workshops, participants share internship experiences during group counseling sessions and engage in career planning as they prepare to transition from trainees to professional members of the workforce. During the final three months of internship training, the emphasis on employment opportunities intensifies, with active efforts to attain participants’ permanent placement within their respective professions. CROP continues to support this effort in perpetuity for alumni after graduation from the program.
Once the six-month internship has been completed, residents graduate from the Ready for Life program. As official CROP alumni, these men and women have access to a lifelong support network with CROP. This support is offered through such resources as housing assistance, career placement, social support, yearly alumni retreats, and special events that are hosted by the CROP Organization.
CROP understands that returning citizens are nearly 10 times more likely than the average American to experience homelessness or unstable living conditions. Therefore, CROP’s Home for Life program provides a strategic approach for long-term housing solutions once participants graduate from the Ready for Life program.
Throughout the 18-month program at the Career Campus, a portion of participants’ weekly stipends are withheld to cover the first and last month’s rent of an apartment. Through CROP’s network of housing providers, participants are given access to a variety of apartment complexes to help them obtain a stable residence upon their graduation from the program. With the combination of personal leadership, hard-skills training, employment opportunities, and stable housing, CROP’s alumni are equipped for success, prepared to contribute, and Ready for Life.