Restore Hope’s partnership with Arkansas Baptist College’s Scott Ford Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development, called Crossroads College, is designed to help students “think like an entrepreneur”. According to the World Economic Forum, entrepreneurship is an essential life skill that every student will need to survive and thrive in the 21st Century. Entrepreneurship education empowers students to remain adaptable when facing obstacles, persist through failure, communicate better, and become problem solvers and opportunity finders. The Crossroads Program supports Restore Hope’s commitment to local, regional and state workforce development efforts by providing employers with “career minded” individuals who are eager to reestablish themselves as productive and contributing members of their community.
Participants in any of Restore Hope’s programs who have a high school diploma or GED are referred to the Crossroads College program to begin or continue their education, leading them to a more stable career. The Crossroads College program consists of two semester blocks, each offering twelve hours of college credit. For individuals interested in continuing their education beyond Crossroads, case managers and professors assist them in this process; other participants who are interested in continuing their education through trade school, or who are ready to begin a career after completion of the program are also assisted in these goals.
Emily was homeless and struggling with meth addiction when she started Crossroads. She now has stable housing, is activity seeing her recovery coach, and is a part-time employee for Restore Hope helping other students in the Crossroads program.
Hannah was homeless and on parole supervision when she enrolled in Crossroads. Hannah finished the Crossroads Entrepreneurship program with a 4.O GPA. Hannah has developed a savings plan is close to being able to secure stable housing.
Jody had not worked for 16 years due to caring for a handicapped daughter. Working with Annie Palmer, a Crossroads Instructor and Case Manager, Jody gained the confidence to apply for an administrative assistance job. Jody was hired and said, “On my fist day my supervisor asked me to build a spreadsheet. I learned how to do that in Intro to Computers. What I didn’t remember I was able to look up on the internet.”
Mark suffers from PTSD and is currently in Drug Court. Mark has used what he learned from Mr. Bones class to finish developing a hunting product and has written a business plan to support the idea. Mark has also used what he learned in Human Growth and Development to cope with daily stressors. Mark started journaling during Human Growth and Development to help with his PTSD.
Jennifer has completed the Crossroads program with a 4.0 GPA and is currently enrolling in the U of A’s business college to finish a bachelor’s degree. Jennifer’s family background is very dysfunctional, poverty, brother in prison, etc. Jennifer embraced the life planning concept stressed by the Crossroads program and can articulate her future plans very effectively. During the Crossroads Mock Interviews, she scored very high from the interviewer concerning her ability to communicate effectively.
Thomas is on parole supervision and was having a difficult time finding stable employment. Thomas was referred to Go Ye Employment Agency, a partner of the Crossroads Program. Thomas entered the Go Ye Transitional Employment Program and not only finished the program but was hired permanently by the city of Fort Smith. Thomas by the way, has a violent criminal history. Without the Crossroads program Thomas would likely still be unemployed and on government assistance.