There have been 18 murders in Jacksonville since the start of the new year, and that’s the current number the city’s safety and crime task force is facing as the group held their second meeting to talk about how to rid the streets of Jacksonville of violence.
One business owner at that meeting says the community can start by adding more job training to reduce crime.
James Coleman, the CEO of Workforce Industrial Training stood up in front of dozens of task force members Friday morning, all with one mission in mind --- to help the youth.
“I think it’s important even for just for the smallest person on the chain to be a part of the contribution to make the whole thing go forward,” Coleman said.
He told the task force members that his company has helped ex-offenders from Moncrief and other areas of North Jacksonville get the job training they need to succeed.
“Without the training and without the education, it’s going to be hard to get that job and it’s twice as hard if you have someone coming from a bad situation," Coleman said.
Amy Donofrio is on the Taskforce’s Education Youth Development Subcommittee. She said the youth needs to be involved in these meetings to help fix the problem.
“Kids are dying in this city. We know that, and we have a lot of adults sitting around and talking about solutions, but I want us to be really conscious and really intentional in bringing youth into these conversations,” Donofrio said.
The task force worked on developing subcommittees that will target neighborhoods in Jacksonville that need more resources, and they’ll present those findings in next month’s meeting.
Coleman was the only community member in the meeting Friday, and he told Action News Jax he wanted the task force to know that he’s ready to help in any way that he can.
“It takes a whole community's involvement to be able to really solve the big problems,” Coleman said.
The newly-formed subcommittee members will meet on March 8.
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