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Cuyahoga County and Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry Celebrate Successful ‘Chopping For Change’


Media Contacts:
Donisha Greene, (216) 443-7075; dgreene@cuyahogacounty.us
Megan Crow Brauer, (216) 658 – 4721; mcbrauer@lutheranmetro.org

Innovative reentry job training program

CLEVELAND – Today, County Executive Armond Budish joined Cuyahoga County Office of Reentry and Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM) as they celebrated the successful pilot launch of Chopping for Change – an innovative new model of pre-release, focused on minimizing challenges that occur with reintegration into society by providing training and wrap-around services.

“Chopping for Change is an excellent example of partners coming together sharing the vision of improving lives, reducing recidivism and enhancing the community”, said County Executive Budish. “This is just one way the county is focused on improving lives through workforce transformation. Those who want to make a change should be given the opportunity.”

The collaborative Chopping for Change program is an effort developed between Office of Re-entry, LMM and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) that provides women inmates set to be released in six to nine months, with training/work experience as well as wrap-around services such as substance abuse and trauma therapy to further increase re-entry success.

Program participants started by learning basic food prep by “chopping” and cutting fruits and vegetables gaining the experience needed to help with transition into the workforce upon release. Participants also address socio-emotional challenges through therapeutic/behavioral services and case management.

“We’re so grateful for the partnership with Cuyahoga County and other funders in bringing this innovative program to life,” said LMM President & CEO Andrew Genszler. “In the words of one participant, ‘I feel like this program is giving us hope. We don’t have to revert back to the same things we did before.’ This is just one example of LMM's commitment to cutting-edge program development and to creating positive change in our community.”

Chopping for Change program participants will now move on to six months of culinary training at LMM including developing soft skills in a culinary class and learning hard skills in LMM’s commercial kitchen. In the kitchen, participants will not only develop important job skills they can leverage after incarceration, but will also assist in the production of nearly 2,000 meals per day for area homeless shelters.

Office of Re-entry and LMM are gearing up to expand the Chopping for Change program in 2016-2017 to more inmates and are exploring education accreditations.