We opened our office in 1981, and have been serving youth in Franklin and the surrounding six counties of Central Ohio ever since. Our staff and volunteers reach out to teens and their families to help them navigate the challenges they face in our ever-changing world, regardless of their socio-economic background, race, religion or gender. Through mentoring, job life-skills training, employment, tutoring, after-school programs, safe and constructive recreational activities, faith-based programming and professional counseling we reinforce the need for education, healthy relationships and giving back to the community.
“Now I help teach in HireLevel Auto classes where I have one student under my wing that kind of shares the same story as me. I want to serve him as this program served me.”
Colton SaundersHireLevel Auto Technician
Who we serve
Though HireLevel serves youth and families throughout Central Ohio, we invest a great deal of resources specifically in the at-risk neighborhood of Franklinton. By all accounts, Franklinton is in distress and meets the benchmarks for an at-risk neighborhood. Franklinton youth are lacking in so many areas; educationally, morally and occupationally. Very few young people have more than one parent in the home, and have no positive role models. All relevant research suggests that Franklinton teens are at high risk for poverty, delinquency, gang involvement, substance abuse, drop out, and other harmful behaviors. Franklin County’s Family & Children First Council cites the 43222 and 43223 zip codes (which encompass Franklinton) as number one and six respectably for the highest risk zip codes for youth to grow up in Franklin County.*
* Family & Children First Council,
2007 Needs Assessment Data and Recommendations.
Chaotic lives coupled with little if any committed input from trusted family or friends makes for many angry, hurt and confused teens. Franklinton’s young people are clearly in need of positive adult role models and peer groups who will offer unconditional acceptance while helping to equip them to make healthy and productive life choices.
HireLevel Enterprises, LLC refined these insights into our Holistic Community Outreach Strategy. Unlike other approaches that only deal with one aspect of an urban teen’s life, this model addresses the lives of youth in a multi-faceted, holistic way. Specifically, HireLevel helps to promote the following areas in teens’ lives:
- Relational success
- Health and safety
- Educational success
- Spiritual/moral literacy
- Economic literacy
- Civic literacy
We believe that an effective strategy to help change the life trajectory of these teens begins with the goal of creating a safe relational community and helping them attach to that community. Our outreach programs become the excuse for our adults, VIT’s and student leaders to engage students relationally. As new and healthy relationships are formed, pain, hurt, alienation and anger can be engaged. Positive relationship and trust creates a new circumstance where values, attitudes and beliefs can be redeveloped in a healthier direction. As that foundation gets laid, additional programs that address skill deficits (like job skills, money management skills, educational deficits, etc.) become important to prepare them for a self-sufficient life.
Over the years it became painfully obvious that our young people lacked positive role models in how to find employment and how to keep a job for any length of time. When an employer did hire these young people, they did not have the soft skills employers look for: good work habits (attendance, dependability, perseverance, attention to quality) and social skills (the ability to work with others and to interact with the public).
We’ve also found that often this population discounts themselves very quickly in terms of their vocational talents and abilities. Most have never had a positive role model in the educational and vocational areas, and very few have ever felt positive feedback from parents or other caring adults. If teens do get a job, they often don’t last long because they lack the skills and desire for hard work.
Finally, most of our teens are more experiential learners. They learn best by doing. We have found that engaging our students in either jobs-skills programs or jobs that give them hands-on experience is the most effective learning laboratory for them. Having a work environment that is forgiving of their mistakes and that is a safe place to learn has allowed quite a few students to move from unemployable to well received, good employees with local companies.
HireLevel Social Enterprises are vitally important to the future of Franklinton. Teens are being redirected from underachievement and undirected career plans toward of life of productivity and an orientation toward a career. Some teens are being moved from a “no job experience” resume to a substantial initial job experience and skills to locate the “next step” in their career development. We are helping to provide a wave of employees for the Franklinton neighborhood that will help create a generation that works to support themselves and their families.