While working for a McDonald’s supplier in Minneapolis years ago, Curt Reynolds and his friend co-founded a partnership among the fast-food giant, his own company and the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center that helped men in recovery find and retain jobs.
The program – called Golden Opportunities, or Golden Opps for short – paired men coming out of addiction, incarceration or homelessness with mentors and a residential community to help them rebuild their lives, find gainful employment and pursue their Christian faith.
Reynolds recalled the success of that program: Three men were promoted to managers, while a McDonald’s owner-operator saved thousands of dollars in turnover costs due to the consistent labor.
Reynolds and his family moved from Minneapolis to the Milwaukee area in 2017 for him to join Johnsonville, LLC, where he is now director of transportation and logistics business.
Last summer – during the height of the nationwide protests and conversations about racial inequities following the death of George Floyd – Reynolds was talking with some friends from his church about the unrest. One of his friends asked the question: What can I do to help?
Reynolds shared his experiences from Golden Opps. His friends were enthusiastic about starting something similar in Milwaukee.
Reynolds connected with the Adult Rehabilitation Center at Salvation Army of Milwaukee County, where he serves as an advisory board member, to pitch the idea.
Since then, Golden Opps has launched in Milwaukee in partnership with Salvation Army and a handful of companies, including a McDonald’s owner-operator, a Culver’s owner-operator, Power Test, Inc. and PFlow Industries, with mentors: Brad Harrison, general manager of Marquette Sports Properties and Learfield IMG College; Mark Mill, retired tax partner of Sikich LLP; and Dan Silvey, director of Global Tax Associates, LLC.
“It becomes a win-win,” Reynolds said. “It gives this individual an opportunity to get a job with benefits, working 40 hours a week or more, and then it also helps the employer out, because a lot of (places) are short on (finding) good employees. This individual also has the support of a mentor to walk alongside them.”
While the program currently operates under the auspices of Salvation Army, Reynolds said the group plans to establish its own nonprofit organization with a designated board of directors and executive director.
It’s also exploring partnerships with shelter and housing organizations – such as Serenity Inns and Milwaukee Rescue Mission – to connect the men it serves with stable housing.
Long-term, Reynolds hopes the organization will acquire its own house, where the men could live with the help of a housing manager.
“Ultimately, we want to help these guys out of addiction and incarceration and get them on the road of recovery with a personal relationship with the Lord, so that they can come back and start working and be productive members of our society,”
Interested in partnering with Golden Opportunities as a mentor or employer? Contact Curt Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org.