INDIANAPOLIS — The non-profit organization RecycleForce breaks ground on its new facility Wednesday.
The group provides work and paid job training to people newly released from prison or jail.
Those in the program are referred through federal transitional job contracts. People who courts, probation and parole officials have deemed high risk for additional crimes.
The work they do is recycle old electronics.
“We recycle the things that people throw away: our old electronics, our curling irons our microwaves, and the people that society sometimes forgets and throws away,” said founder and president Gregg Keesling.
They give people paid training like forklift operations and OSHA certifications, but they also pay them while they get mental health and addiction services as well. With more space, they’ll be able to help more people.
People like Tyra James, who’s been in the program for a few months and says she hopes to open her own business one day.
“As long as I work and do something positive with myself, I won’t go back to jail. That’s how I feel,” said James.
They got a $13 million new market tax credit through the city of Indianapolis to help build its new facility in the Sherman Park area.
“The city inherited 55 acres of barren land, and we’re going to be the anchoring tenant there to build and revitalize this community where it’s the highest crime place in our city right now. And this is going to be a really exciting moment to change the city and this crime wave we’re facing,” said Keesling.
The new building will take them from their current space of 50,000 square feet to more than 102,500.
Right now, Keesling says they serve about 300 people per year. They hope to be able to double that to about 600.
“This building will give us a really big chance to bend the crime wave that’s hitting us. We’ve got new contracts now to serve 380 high-risk youth between the ages of 18 to 24 that will get referred to us while we’re in this new building,” said Keesling.
They also recently got a grant from the Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety to be able to give mental health treatment on site.