Q: What is the mission of Man Up Inc. and how continued has it been in Providence?
Price: I accept formed in the bent amends arrangement for 29 years, in both the accompaniment and federal courts, and I accept apparent how opportunities accept lagged abaft for men of blush in this country. At the University of Rhode Island, my academy coach was Leo DiMaio, who started the Talent Development Affairs in 1968 in acknowledgment to Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination. As I was advertent what to do for men of blush who accept faced incarceration all their lives, he appropriate I alpha up a nonprofit.
I founded the affairs in 2011. We put calm a affairs to accommodate men of blush with career-track opportunities, higher-education opportunities, wrap-around services, and abutment to advice them adjust aback into society. We do all of that while accompanying acclamation the banking and acknowledged issues that actualize barriers to application and education.
Q: What was the Man Up Inc. angle that won the $50,000 aboriginal award-winning during the Nov. 12 Nonprofit Innovation Lab angle contest?
Price: It is a hydroponic calm greenhouse – a acreage that will be in a bales container. I’m activity to acquirement it from Bales Farms in Boston and accompany it to Providence. In accession to startup capital, we will charge to acquisition a location. My achievement is to be able to put it on some acreage appropriate abutting to a bazaar or aliment processing company.
We can abound added than 8,000 plants in the container, so we are attractive at butterhead lettuce, collard greens, and specialty crops like sorrel. We can abound flowers, tomatoes, spinach. We can abound aloof about anything. So we will be experimenting a little bit.
Q: Why did you accept an calm hydroponic vegetable acreage and what allowances will it accommodate to the organization?
Price: I had acquaintance in the agronomical industry as the above buyer of a annual boutique and greenhouse in East Providence. Unfortunately, during the recession of 2008, I had to abutting my doors. But I started thinking: What could I accept done if I awash my artefact broad vs. retail? I put calm a pro forma online presentation and was told Home Depot and Stop & Boutique would buy the products. So I put calm a cardinal plan, and I anticipation it would abutment the Man Up alignment with ample amounts of revenue.
The aliment industry, the supermarkets, and the aliment processing companies accept survived COVID-19. Actually, they accept fabricated a huge profit. My achievement is the business will become the primary antecedent of acquirement for the organization, accouterment complete funds. The funds we get in grants accept so abounding restrictions.
Also, this will accredit us to alternation our audience in the agriculture industry and administer them. They will become the managers of the crops. They will bulb the seeds, autumn the crops, booty them to market. And we will be able to pay them active wages. It is activity to advice us to actualize new training opportunities.
Q: What are some of the challenges that bodies face back abrogation bastille and how does Man Up Inc. advice them over those barriers?
Price: It’s not easy. Their bent aesthetics ambit from accessory misdemeanors to advance with a alarming weapon to manslaughter. So we are not ambidextrous with choir boys here. They accept had some austere acquaintance with the bent amends system.
The barriers they face accommodate a abhorrence to appoint ex-felons. In addition, men appear out with about no apprenticeship and no training. The majority accept aerial academy credentials. Some get academy accreditation while incarcerated. But they accept actually no accomplishment sets, no training in assorted industries.
The majority, about 98 percent, don’t accept driver’s licenses. They appear out attributable hundreds or bags of dollars to get their licenses reinstated. They accept tickets, fines, cloister costs. So we advice them with those barriers. Also, there’s aloof the institutionalization – how they feel emotionally and mentally. We accept to assignment about those barriers and retrain them, reprogram them to anticipate a accomplished new way.
Q: How abounding bodies accept taken allotment in Man Up Inc. programs and what types of jobs are they accomplished for?
Price: We accept had added than 250 men of blush referred to our organization. Our audience are referred by acquittal and acquittal admiral and associates of the acquittal board. Some Rhode Island board accept referred guys to us from the accompaniment and federal courts, additional a cardinal of community-based organizations.
We aloof completed a 26-week oil-heat artisan training affairs at New England Tech. We alternation welders, CNC (Computer Numerical Code) machinists, CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) barter drivers, and architecture workers. We accept several guys alive with barter unions, and some adolescent men go into advice technology training. Whatever their career objectives are, we try to abode them. And a brace of guys accept accelerating from college.
Our backsliding amount is abandoned 11 percent – abundant bigger than the statewide average. At the ACI (Adult Correctional Institutions), the amount at assimilation ability be over $62,000 to abode one prisoner. Well, it costs about $3,000 to accommodate our casework to these men.
Q: Can you acquaint us about the W.E.B. Du Bois adduce that guides your organization’s mission?
Price: Du Bois said, “Education and assignment are the levers to boost a people. Assignment abandoned will not do it unless aggressive by the appropriate ethics and guided by intelligence. Apprenticeship charge not artlessly advise assignment – it charge advise life.”
We administer aggregate that is in that quote. We accord the education. We try to accommodate career-track application with aerial accomplishment that uplifts people. But it has to be guided by the ethics abaft it. This is reprogramming minds, giving our participants a new way of thinking. All of it has to advise activity – that is what we do at Man Up.
Edward Fitzpatrick can be accomplished at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.