New Louisville Urban League program helps the unemployed - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New Louisville Urban League program helps the unemployed

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Lachelle Haymon searched for work with her daughter hovering nearby -- and she wasn't being particular.

"Cleaning, temporary agencies or a factory or restaurant -- just whatever I can get my hands on," Haymon said.

Life's circumstances thrust the single mom back into the workforce for the first time in nine years.

"Right now, I need to do what I got to do, so if it's an opportunity, I shouldn't pass it up," Haymon said.

This summer, Louisville's Urban League launched a new pilot program called "I Can BE."

"It's an empowerment initiative," said Louisville Urban League CEO Ben Richmond.

They've essentially turned into an employment agency, recruiting, screening and training for employers in Louisville's poorest communities.

"It's 40 hours of training, and when they come out of training, they know they're going to work," said Richmond.

Creators of the program are hoping to cut crime in Louisville's high-violence neighborhoods. The program targets zip codes 40203, 40210, 40211, 40212-- where unemployment is 22.8 percent. That's more than 7,100 people out of work and nearly three times the unemployment rate for the entire city.

"What we have to do is cut through the apathy and disenfranchisement and get them motivated," said Richmond.

UPS pledged to hire 200 people, and so far 16 have already gone to work.

"We have 12 companies that will take people with a 4-year degree and hire them into permanent jobs if they have a degree under their belt," said UPS V.P. Human Resources Tom Volta.

This program coincides with the educational opportunities. Leaders say JCTC, Simmons College of Kentucky and U of L are all on board. 

Haymon says all that means one thing.

"Independence -- so I can make a way for me and my daughter."

More information can be found here.

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