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"60 days to a career pathway" program to help domestic violence survivors put abuse in the past

The Family Safety Center and Gradus Project team up to create a three-month program to promote financial independence for domestic violence survivors.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new program aims to take domestic violence survivors from unemployed or underemployed to a career pathway in 60 days.

Non-profits Family Safety Center and Gradus Project have teamed-up to create a three-month program to promote financial independence for domestic violence survivors called Project E.A.T.

Project E.A.T. stands for Project Earn Assistance Training. It's a three-month program to improve the lives of survivors through job training and education.

“In 60 days a person can go from unemployed or underemployed to earning anywhere from $17 to $20 an hour, and be able to take care of the family and hopefully continue to have abuse apart of their past," Dr. Penny Mickey, Gradus Project CEO, said.

The Gradus Project helps victims of violence and disadvantaged youth economically through a transitional employment program.

Martha M. Jackson is a coordinated community response specialist at the Family Safety Center, a non-profit she describes as a "one-stop shop" for domestic violence victims to get all the help they need from housing to police protection orders.

“One key piece of a victim leaving is that financial empowerment," Jackson said.

She said financial barriers for victims continues to be the biggest barrier for leaving a bad situation.

“95% of our domestic violence victims report that financial abuse is the key barrier to leaving," Jackson said. “It was key for us to partner with the Gradus Project on E.A.T in terms of providing stability for our victims and removing that economic piece that barrier from our victims.”

During the three months of Project E.A.T. survivors will learn what Dr. Mickey describes as 21st century job skills: problem solving, critical thinking and resilience. They'll also receive an industry certification through Southwest Tennessee Community College for food based advanced manufacturing.

“When you’re in a situation where you have to make decisions swiftly and you have multiple barriers, you don’t have four years to get a better degree, to get a better job," Dr. Mickey said.

After completing the program, participants will be interviewed for jobs. Dr. Mickey said it's not about just getting a person a job but ensuring they can keep it.

The program will also provide participants with financial, childcare and transportation assistance.

People interested in participating should immediately email info@leahpromise.org for more information.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and need help, call the 24-hour hotline at 901-249-7611.

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