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City of Houston and University of Houston Offer At-Risk Young Adults a Second Chance at Success

Getting a second chance for employment and education is not always easy for young adults who have a history of incarceration. Today, a select group of young adults began classes at the University of Houston’s Stephen Stagner Sales Excellence Institute Sales Academy, thanks to a partnership between the City of Houston, the C. T. Bauer College of Business, and funded by corporate partners supporting Hire Houston Youth (HHY).

The City of Houston, through Mayor Turner’s signature Hire Houston Youth employment initiative, has partnered with the University of Houston (UH) to offer scholarships to all 25 young people seeking a Sales certification. To ensure maximum impact, the Mayor’s Office of Education strategically conducted outreach to students who are struggling with substance abuse, are at a higher risk for future criminal justice involvement, and have limited opportunities for employment upon re-entry.
Additionally, more than half of the selected participants will be youth who have interacted with the criminal justice system, who may be otherwise ineligible for scholarship or internship opportunities.

“This would not have been possible without the Harris County Community Supervision & Corrections Department (Harris County CSCD) and we are grateful for their partnership,” said Olivera Jankovska, director of the Mayor’s Office of Education. “Harris County CSCD is committed to helping individuals on community supervision eliminate future criminal behavior and become productive citizens.”

“Employment is one of the single most important predictors of success for our young clients,” said Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department Director, Teresa May. “We are extremely excited to partner with the City of Houston to provide an opportunity for our youth to take advantage of becoming a sales certified professional, as part of Mayor Turner’s Hire Houston Youth Initiative. We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity and partnership.”

This initiative aligns with the City of Houston’s One Safe Houston plan, a violence reduction initiative that links research-based strategies to improve public safety and reduce the harms caused by violent crime. Upskilling is central to effective rehabilitation and successful community re-entry, and thus to upholding public safety.

“There is no one set path to success. An interaction with criminal justice system as a teenager should not determine the course of the rest of a person’s life,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “By giving these young people an opportunity to advance their skills and reach their career goals, we are creating equity in historically disadvantaged communities, we are keeping kids off the streets and away from gangs and violence, and we are literally changing the lives of the kids who go through this program. I am extremely proud of the Office of Education and Hire Houston Youth for identifying this need and finding a creative solution to address it, and I applaud UH for their commitment to fostering success for our youth.”

Launched in 2020, the Sales Academy is a unique sales training and certification program aimed at preparing early and mid-career professionals to join the workforce. The five-week certificate program is part of the University of Houston’s Stephen Stagner Sales Excellence Institute in the C.T. Bauer College of Business. During the course, participants will experience live-selling experientials, exclusive facetime with leading teach-industry executives, and instruction from the award-winning faculty at the Bauer College. Graduates of the program will leave equipped to obtain better paying jobs in Houston’s dynamic economy.

“The Sales Academy for the Hire Houston Youth program is a shining example of the Bauer College’s commitment to creating and providing practical coursework to support Houston’s booming ecosystem of technology and innovation,” Bauer College Dean and Cullen Distinguished Chair Professor Paul A. Pavlou said. “This partnership with the City of Houston demonstrates our commitment to making this unique and valuable opportunity available to all of our city’s young people.”
If you are interested in registering with Hire Houston Youth, please visit https://hirehoustonyouth.force.com/s/youth-registration.

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