On Friday July 26, 2019 Vice President Michael Pence, White House Advisor Ivanka Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the HUD Jacksonville team participated in a Re-Entry Roundtable in Jacksonville. Hosted by Operation New Hope Executive Director Kevin Gay, its goal was to promote awareness to generate community discussions around the needs of ex-offenders.
During the Roundtable Advisor Ivanka Trump announced that there were 12 million pledges nationwide for job training and employment, and Vice President acknowledged that Jacksonville is a City of Second Chances through the work and efforts of Operation New Hope.
Operation New Hope is one of the leaders in re-entry programs in the country; it has partnered with more than 600 businesses to provide a qualified pool of candidates who are motivated to work and become productive citizens of society.
HUD has a partnership with Operation New Hope and in March of 2017 helped them launch the Jacksonville Port Academy to provide the missing link: Access to training resources for ex-offenders from the surrounding community to acquire varied essential skills for target positions at the Port of Jacksonville. Their jobs pay an average annual salary of $51,000 which is above the Jacksonville area average wage of $38,000. The port is a regional economic engine creating abundant new job opportunities in North Florida.