(Decatur, Ga.) – The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced today the expansion of the agency's career opportunity program F.R.E.S.H Start Youth Initiative. DJJ is now partnering with the Stephens County Development Authority (SCDA) to help ensure justice-involved youth in Northeast Georgia have access to gainful employment.

“Public-private partnerships like F.R.E.S.H. can help pave the way for better opportunity for youth in need of a constructive path forward and safer communities,” said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “I commend the Department of Juvenile Justice for their work to implement this program across the state, and I am thankful for the good corporate citizens who have agreed to join the effort. We look forward to the positive impact this initiative will have on the Northeast Georgia community.”

F.R.E.S.H, which stands for Focusing Resources Effectively to Sustain Hope, is a program in the Department's Reentry Services Division that facilitates youth's connections to services and support as they transition back into their communities. Launched in August 2020, DJJ has partnered with more than a dozen businesses located in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Hall counties.

"DJJ remains committed to restoring youth inside and outside of our development campuses," said DJJ Commissioner Tyrone Oliver. "We want our young people to have a positive outlook on their employment future, and I am grateful to the Stephens County Development Authority and the business owners in the northeast region for their dedication to this important effort."

Sage Automotive Interiors, Nifco KTW, ASI Southeast, MWL LLC, Trachte, and Maple Ridge Cabinetry are now amongst the list of partners offering job opportunities to current and former justice-involved youth. These companies are manufacturers of various products, such as wood pallets, automobile parts and modular steel buildings.

"As workforce needs increase in Toccoa-Stephens County, the Stephens County Development Authority is excited to partner with the DJJ to offer great career opportunities in our local industries to youth in our state that are trying to reenter the workforce," said Brittany Ivey, President/CEO of the Stephens County Development Authority. "Our industries that have agreed to be a partner in this program firmly believe that past mistakes do not have to define an individual as they move forward in life. They are excited to offer second-chance opportunities, and hopefully, this partnership will prove beneficial to their companies and the young people they will employ."

The Stephens County Development Authority was established in 1965 and is responsible for sustainable economic growth in Northeast Georgia. Its mission is to support the expansion of industrial and commercial facilities to promote employment.




The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice is a multi-faceted agency that serves the state's justice-involved youth up to 21 years of age. The Department's mission is to transform young lives by providing evidence-based rehabilitative treatment services and supervision, strengthening youth and families' well-being, and fostering safe communities.   


Communications Glenn Allen