Who We Are
The mission of the Refill Jackson Initiative (RJI) is to empower young adults ages 18 to 24 so that they are more confident, better equipped and motivated to enter into, navigate and stay in the workforce.
At RJI, we recognize that being “job ready” means more than just possessing the ability to apply for a job and be hired. In order to be successful in the workforce, any employee must have:
- Adequate education and financial understanding,
- Reliable transportation,
- Childcare (if applicable),
- Good physical and mental health,
- Identity documents,
- A network of support, and
- A range of soft skills—good work ethic, communication and problem-solving skills, time management, anger management, self-confidence, the ability to accept and learn from criticism.
Intentionally located in West Jackson, RJI’s intensive 10-week training program gives young adults (our “members”) the time, space and guidance to learn and practice these critical job and life skills. We also actively work with each member individually to address his or her unique barriers to entering the workforce.
Our program approach combines classroom learning with on-the-job training in Refill Cafe. Members explore their interests and how they align with possible careers; practice interviewing and communicating professionally via text, email, and phone; create budgets; learn about conflict resolution and healthy relationships; and write a resume and cover letter.
In Refill Cafe, each member rotates through all stations in the restaurant, learning how to work the register, wait on customers, prepare food safely, and clean before and after service.
Ideally, members graduate with three certificates or credentials:
- Smart Start certificate or credential;
- ServSafe certificate; and
- National Career Readiness Certificate.
After graduation, members are encouraged to take one of three paths. RJI provides ongoing support during each of these paths and for up to 10 months.
- A paid, 480-hour internship,
- Employment, and/or
- Further education.
We believe—and our research holds—that our work not only has an immediate impact on our members but also long-term, positive effects on their children, other family members, peer groups, and the community at large.