JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Vice President Mike Pence and first daughter and adviser to the president Ivanka Trump joined Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Jacksonville on Friday to highlight President Donald Trump’s initiative to expand America’s workforce and apprenticeship.
The three toured Miller Electric and hosted a roundtable discussion at Operation New Hope in Springfield.
“It’s very inspiring to be here,” Pence said, adding that he was there on behalf of the president to thank those who committed to the Operation New Hope program.
WATCH: Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Miller Electric
“The courageous men and women who have come through this place, who have chosen a better life, seizing the opportunity,” Pence said. “The reality is more than 50% of people who leave prison are incarcerated within five years.”
Operation New Hope is a nonprofit serving Florida. For 20 years it has provided support and life- and job-skills training for people with a criminal history.
People like Charlotte Smith.
“I got my kids back, I got a decent job and I am still at the same job 14 years later,” Smith said of how the program helped her.
Ivanka Trump said the federal government wants to fuel programs that show success, like Operation New Hope.
“We know the single most important action we can take to help returning citizens (reach) their potential is (to) help them get a job,” she said.
After the roundtable discussion, Pence, Ivanka Trump and DeSantis toured Miller Electric, a contractor that employs clients of Operation New Hope.
“President Trump and I are committed to ensuring that this historic prosperity reaches into every American home and that's why we're here today,” Pence said. “That's why we wanted to see firsthand this extraordinary apprenticeship program that Miller's put into effect.”
Operation New Hope anticipates expanding services to St. Johns County with an office in St. Augustine soon.