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Louisville Youth Program To Expand With $1.3M Federal Grant

Former Reimage participants and staffers pose at expansion announcement
Former Reimage participants and staffers pose at expansion announcement

Louisville has been awarded $1.3 million in federal funds to further a program aimed at supporting young people. The grant, which comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, will go to expand the city’s Reimage program, Mayor Greg Fischer announced Thursday.

Reimage is a collaboration between KentuckianaWorks and Louisville’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods. It focuses on young people who’ve been involved in the court system or are at risk for getting into trouble.

Since Reimage started in 2015, more than 440 young people between ages 16 and 24 have participated. Fischer said the federal award will be used to help target an additional 200 young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 and to hire four more Reimage team members. 

Reimage participants can get job training as well as help with education, navigating the court system and addressing drug and alcohol issues. Former Reimage participant Apollo Miller said the program helped him turn things around. 

“A lot of times your circumstances or your environment is not the way that you’re going,” Miller said. “I think [Reimage] is a good program and I’ll continue to support it.”

Reimage was launched after federal funding ran out for two similar programs in Louisville in 2015. The two took over, merged the two programs and renamed it Reimage.

Since the start of Reimage, 256 young people have been connected to employment and 287 were helped into education or workforce credentials such as training certificates or GED’s, according to the city. The overall recidivism rate, which is the rate of people who once committed a crime and commit more crime after the program, was less than five percent, per the city officials. 

Louisville Metro Chief of Community Building Vincent James said Reimage gives young citizens opportunities they haven’t had before. And Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Director Rashaad Abdur-Rahman said the initiative shows Louisville is progressing.

“We can see the success rates. We can see what happens when we have a team like the Reimage team that steps up and makes a real difference and invests in our youth," Abdur-Rahman said. "And we can see that over time, our city moves in the right direction."

The federal grant is part of the a national project called the Compass Rose Collaborative, which is led by the nonprofit FHI 360. Four other communities — Boston, Baltimore, Albany, New York, and Southeast Arkansas — also received grants as part of that project. Fischer said representatives from the other cities will be in Louisville next week for training on how to use the grant money.

More information about Reimage can be found here.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.