TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee's TEMPO program is receiving $500,000 in funding through the State of Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice.
The money will help up to 150 disconnected youth by providing workforce training scholarships and credential attainment through a vocational or technical college or university.
Dr. Kimball Thomas helped coordinate the program better known as TEMPO to be a second chance for 16-24 year olds looking for one.
"When you look at data across any municipality, when you don't have young people particularly at this age not engaging in employment or education, they're more subject to instances of crime. This gives them the opportunity to better expand their narrative," he said.
Brett Heatherly is one of the many young people who has gone through the program. Heatherly says he struggled to focus in school, but TEMPO was a different story.
"They told me about the program. I didn't have to pay anything out of pocket. It worked out great for me. I was able to focus," said Heatherly.
Heatherly was able to get his GED and a scholarship to Lively Technical to study automotive mechanics through the program. He'll graduate from TEMPO June 23rd.
With that free education comes goals of opening his own auto mechanic shop.
"This program is outreach program to disconnect the youth ages 16 and 24, who are not in education, employment and training, has given them an opportunity to engage themselves in those areas. Also, it gives them opportunity not to commit crime, give them other opportunities to stay away from drugs and violence," said Thomas.
The half a million dollars from the Florida Department of Juvenille Justice will allow another 150 students to benefit just like Heatherly.
"That money will expand our narrative on giving disconnected youth an opportunity now not to only earn their GED, but now go into and make an easy transition into vocational and technical schools to get credential attainment," said Thomas.
More than 1900 people have graduated from the TEMPO since it started in 2017.
In 2021, 50 people received scholarships to Lively or Tallahassee Community College with $250,000 in funding from the state.
The money from the latest state funding drops July 1st. TEMPO will host its graduation for roughly 80 students June 23rd.