AMIkids Pensacola, Inc. (AMIkids) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping youth develop into responsible and productive citizens. The organization’s mission is to protect public safety and positively impact as many youth as possible through the efforts of a diverse and innovative staff. AMIkids opened its doors in 1991 as Escambia Bay Marine Institute, Inc., a non-residential day treatment program located on Muldoon Road and serving boys and girls ages 14-18, from Escambia County, who are referred by the Department of Juvenile Justice. In 2009, the nonprofit was renamed AMIkids Pensacola, Inc. and was affiliated with the national organization AMIkids, Inc. In June 2013, AMIkids was awarded a contract to also allow for the operation of Escambia Boys Base, a 28-bed, staff secure, boys-only residential program on Corry Naval Station. Both programs implement the AMIkids Personal Growth Model to separate the student’s troubled past from a bright future. The Personal Growth Model is included in the National Registry of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as an evidence-based treatment program
AMIkids Careers is a standard program of career training in demand industries that leads to industry recognized certifications. The program is currently available at eight other AMIkids facilities nationwide. The proposed project seeks the required funding to support AMIkids Careers implementation for the Pensacola program in the areas of construction and food services. The nonprofit has applied for federal funding from the Department of Labor to support required staffing and other soft costs of the program. The IMPACT 100 grant would allow AMIkids to build the separate facility for a construction classroom suitable for hands-on training. The classroom will be located at the AMIkids day treatment facility and will house materials and equipment to provide adequate practical training and experience necessary to obtain industry certifications. Additionally, funds would be used to renovate the existing kitchen area and allow for improved food service training.
Annually, the vocational programs will serve approximately 140 youth with the following characteristics: 94% qualify for free and reduced lunch; 78% are racial and ethnic minorities; 21.4% are females and 78.6% are males; and all students are subject to the Department of Juvenile Justice jurisdiction. The vocational training will help students grow into responsible, community-minded adults that are employed and participating positively in society. Construction and food service training are in high demand, and will provide career opportunities not available to students at this time. Either path will provide training in skills necessary for specific jobs culminating in nationally recognized certifications. The construction classroom will allow students to obtain an NCCER Construction certification. Updating the kitchen will enhance the SERVSafe food handling certification program. AMIkids expects that 80% or more of their students will be placed into further educational settings or gain employment after completion of the vocational program. AMIkids expects that by following-up with students, 75% or more will still be in an educational setting or employed for at least one year having completed the program. Diverting a high risk teenager from a life of crime will improve local public safety and save substantial sums of public money. Adding AMIkids Careers to this already successful program will additionally give them the skills, certifications and confidence to get a good job and stay employed