FORT WAYNE — A local businessman wants at-risk men to succeed. In other words, John Dortch wants them to score.
Securing Confidence On the Road to Employment – SCORE – is a new initiative that officials plan to introduce today at Parkview Randallia.
Last year, Dortch, president and CEO of human resources company Preston Joan Group Inc., helped revive the Fort Wayne Black Chamber of Commerce as its leader. Since then, he says he has had several conversations with the area’s youth about black-on-black crime and other issues.
Allen County has had 35 homicides this year – many of them in African-American neighborhoods.
“The things they cited as concerns were employment, the economy, educational challenges, parenting, gangs, drugs and guns,” Dortch said. “When they speak to you, you have to listen.”
The interchanges led Dortch to develop SCORE, which will involve participants being taught the importance of responsibility and accountability. They will work with multiple committees set up to get them ready for employment.
The goal is to identify 50 companies willing to offer jobs to 100 men from SCORE. Parkview Randallia Vice President Ben Miles, Sweetwater Sound President and CEO Chuck Surack and Alexin LLC President and CEO Tom Horter are on board.
“I reached out, and they responded,” said Dortch, former vice president of employee relations at Parkview. “This is just the beginning.”
SCORE will serve mostly black men 18 to 30, but other races will not be prohibited. For a year, participants must report to SCORE volunteers every other month.
“We want to be able to help them with things they may be going through,” Dortch said. “We want to make sure there are no attendance problems or anything like that.”
To qualify for the program, applicants must go through prescreening. For more information, go to www.scoreforlife.org.