The Lantern Project was founded in 2014 through a unique collaboration between local churches, craft educators, and industry leaders. They met out of a shared vision to see the unemployed and underemployed empowered with life-long careers. The result was not simply a trade school, but a wholistic, training and mentorship program. Through The Lantern Project, hope, honor, and dignity are being restored and grown in disadvantaged and displaced peoples. As we press on with our mission, it is our hope that we will continue to strive forward as a beacon of hope, allowing our light to shine before men, and illuminating a path for those in need.
Worldwide, there are 59.5 million men, women and children displaced by unthinkable crises around the world.* Since 2001, 750,000 refugees have been resettled in the United States, according to The Economist.
Right now we are focusing on refugees in a community called Clarkston. The UN resettles 2,500 refugees each year in Clarkston, Georgia, a little city on the edge of Atlanta that TIME Magazine called “the most diverse square mile in the country.” At last count, there were 145 countries and 761 ethnic groups living in Clarkston. Sixty languages are spoken in our little square mile. That’s a new language every 100 square feet.
The per capita income here is $17,000. Our suicide rate is above the national average. Jobs are scarce. Clarkston could easily be called a collective of PTSD sufferers since over half our citizens fled here from violence. Many of the refugees flee their country of origin leaving behind all past education or training. Essentially these individuals must leave behind everything and start new here in the US.
This leaves these individuals vulnerable to poverty and in need of government assistance. Our long-term goal would be serving anyone and everyone who is considered someone with barriers to training or careers. Barriers could be economical or geographical.
Only 5% to 10% of resettled refugees in the United States further their education once they arrive.** We want to change this. Over one-half of refugees who have lived in the U.S. for 20 years have limited English proficiency.** We have partners who can help.
*According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, December 2015.
**According to the Migration Policy Institute, June 2015.
Proactivity is key. For the disadvantaged, we believe this is best accomplished through sustainable incomes made possible by unhindered careers. For the displaced, we believe a hand up instead of a hand out enables us to provide access toward a new beginning in an unfamiliar context.
As of the end of 2015, our core construction training program has seen this hope come about among our friends and now coworkers:
• • • • • • • • • • 10
Second-year students in process to receive trade certification.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 16
Second-year students receiving core certification.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 18
First-year students who completed the program found work in their related trade.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 18
Second-year students in process to receive core certification.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 26
First-year students receiving trade certification.
Some added perspective to these numbers:
[ 5 9 % ]
First-year retention rate for those entering a 2- to 4-year private, nonprofit educational degree program.*
[ 7 4 . 3 5 % ]
The Lantern Project Core Construction Retention Rate.
[ 6 5 % ]
Graduation rate within 6 years of starting a 4-year program.**
[ 6 9 . 2 % ]
The Lantern Project Trade Training Graduation Rate.
[ $ 1 , 5 0 0 ]
The cost per student for us to provide the program, help them finish and receive a job in their specified trade.
*U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Spring 2014, Enrollment component; and Fall 2012, Institutional Characteristics component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 326.30.
**U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Spring 2014, Graduation Rates component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 326.10.
We feel strongly that with the rising demand for skilled laborers, we can fill these positions by equipping eager and hardworking multinationals and eventually veterans. This is done through Lantern Project Training.
The Lantern Project Training program is a three-part program. Students receive formal construction training through National Center for Construction Education and Research, leadership and professional development and mentorship through partner organizations and companies.
For each student to be a successful employee and person they also need to know what it takes to be a leader. We use our own curriculum designed to show our students the qualities needed to be a successful leader and professional. Each student is partnered with a mentor who spends roughly an hour a week coaching them in their studies, leadership development and in everyday life.
Purpose: The training program is designed to develop construction trade skills in welding, pipefitting, masonry, carpentry and electrical to help advance careers in the power, oil, gas, chemical and process industries. The program will also include instruction on faith-based principles, leadership and life skills.
Program Duration/Schedule: The intro course is 14 weeks, meeting four days per week from 5pm to 9pm. Class start time and duration per day is subject to change throughout the one-year program. The technical classes are 12 to 18 months, two days per week from 5pm to 9pm
Location: Church Street Business Center, 3529 Church Street, Unit D, Clarkston, Georgia 30021.
Program Cost/Compensation: The program cost is $50 per class. The training program is an unpaid program that will prepare trainees for a career in construction.
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