In 1984, a group of ten gathered in a basement of an East Harlem housing project. This was the first class of STRIVE, a new take on job training and placement that focused not just on getting the chronically unemployed into jobs, but keeping them there.
STRIVE was founded through a collaboration between Sam Hartwell and Tom Rodman, two Manhattan-based bankers who were troubled by the chronic unemployment problem facing the residents of East Harlem and other American inner-cities in the 1980s, and Rob Carmona, an East Harlem native who had overcome multiple incarcerations and substance abuse to earn a Master of Social Work from Columbia University. STRIVE’s innovative model ran counter to much of the conventional wisdom in employment and training at the time, combining a short, intense period of job readiness training focused on the behaviors and life situations of individuals with significant challenges with rapid job placement and long-term follow-up.
More than three decades later, STRIVE's model has proven to be a highly flexible approach that works in diverse locations and cultures. In more than 20 cities across the U.S., STRIVE trains participants in skills that employers need, helping to create talent pipelines that promote our nation's prosperity.
From its headquarters in East Harlem, STRIVE today is an international leader in helping individuals from underserved communities receive the training and support they need to obtain meaningful employment and achieve economic self sufficiency. STRIVE's 70,000 graduates have shown that a job brings dignity, hope, and a brighter future.