Senator Ron Johnson and Pastor Jerome Smith Sr. co-founded the Joseph Project in 2015. They both saw a need to connect people who are seeking opportunity with companies that can’t find enough people to meet their hiring needs. This project is for those who want to experience the dignity of work and earn good wages to provide for themselves and their families. Isn’t this what the “American Dream” is all about!!
Participants attend weeklong classes learning “essential employability” skills, and after completion are guaranteed interviews with employers who are hiring for entry level jobs allowing them to earn good wages so that they can obtain stable housing, buy cars, pay household bills, and begin saving. Free transportation to work is offered to each participant through the Joseph Project shuttles. After one month workers’ pay a small fee for their transportation to and from work.
The Joseph Project began in Milwaukee and has expanded to include Appleton, Sheboygan, Madison, Wausau, Chippewa Falls, and Green Bay. As of June 2022, there have been 119 Joseph Project classes around our state.
Senator Johnson voted in favor of the First Step Act of 2018. He states, “The First Step Act recognizes that helping federal inmates prepare for a successful life outside of prison can reduce recidivism and crime. Through the Joseph Project I have witnessed formerly incarcerated individuals transform their lives when given work opportunities.”
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