The Sullivan Family Moving Ahead Program
The Sullivan Family Moving Ahead Program (MAP) is a 14-week job- and life-skills training program for individuals who have experienced homelessness, addiction, mental illness, and/or histories of incarceration. MAP, which began in 1995, serves 200 students a year.
Taught by skilled, compassionate instructors, students learn to identify, pursue, and succeed in careers that match their interests, abilities, skills, and work values. The program emphasizes the importance of job readiness and satisfaction, which can increase students’ ability to secure and maintain employment and housing, thus improving their lives and the community-at-large.
To help participants focus on their career goals, MAP provides 16 weeks of housing in a sober, safe environment. A Case Manager assists with housing issues, mental health care, legal issues, food stamps, and other needs.
Our Life Skills Instructors teach essential skills such as how to write a resume, check online job listings, file applications electronically, and prepare for an interview. But there is so much more to the classroom and the program. These practical work lessons are embedded into other more holistic topics such as determining values, setting goals, managing stress, maintaining good health, creating positive social relationships and other life skills. In addition, Studio Shine, our in-house boutique, provides students with professional clothing and image consultation. And, working with students in groups and one-on-one, a Job Developer and Job Coach help students find and retain employment.
An important component of the Moving Ahead Program is teaching students how to deal with trauma and how to change negative emotions so that job performance and other aspects of life do not get derailed. These coping skills often make the difference between failure and success.
In 2000, the program was recognized by the Congressional Black Caucus for excellence, and in 2001 MAP was selected by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Education Development Center (EDC) in Newton, MA, to serve as a “best practices” model for other HUD-funded programs in eight U.S. cities that were considering replicating the program. MAP-Topeka (Kansas) was launched in 2003, MAP-St. Louis (Missouri) was launched in 2004.
The MAP model is extremely effective. In FY13, 66% of students enrolled in MAP successfully completed the program, with 64% of those having a job at graduation. The average hourly wage for FY13 graduates was $11.23 – 40% more than the Massachusetts minimum wage of $8 an hour.