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New facility for ex-offenders provides opportunities to work

RecycleForce opens new facility
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Posted at 7:32 PM, Nov 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-10 19:32:47-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A new space, for ex-offenders to work and get back on their feet, while helping the environment is finally up and running.

On Friday, employees and veterans who work there, were honored.

"We are recycling electronics, gold, silver from circuit boards, plastic you name it, but really we are recovering lives," said Gregg Keesling.

Finding a job after being locked up in jail or prison can be challenging.

"And we need to help them find a place," said Keesling.

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RecycleForce, an electronic waste company, gives ex-offenders a paid opportunity.

"We are a transitional job employer. We are employing people for limited times any job better career with idea you're going to get a better job. At any given time we have 125 people at a time. We do about 400-500 per year, then help them get a better job," said Keesling.

Gregg Kessling, and his family dedicate this service to their son. He's a former solider in the Iraq war, who they say died by suicide in 2009.

"This is his jacket. I've had it since he passed. It's my first time wearing it. I am just honored that my parents were able to start this facility and help people all across Indianapolis, returning citizens," said Tiana Johnson.

"In those days we didn't understand trauma and post traumatic stress, but since his death my wife and I decided that all humans need to have opportunities to come up, even people who have committed crimes. We send our soldiers off to war then bring them home and have to reintegrate them back. We send our prisoners off to prison, but we have to do a better job when they come home," said Keesling.

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Friday, the new 102,000 square foot building in Sherman Park was unveiled to the public. The new facility doubles the size of inventory intake and workers.

Opportunities, Ken Thompson says that changed his life.

"Before actually coming to the program, I didn't want to work. I was about the fast cash, street life and stuff like that. But by sitting down and coming to the program it gave me a different outlook on life on how stuff should be instead of how I want it," said Thompson.

Thompson said he was in trouble for a shooting incident.

"I was the shooter, not the victim. I don't want that to be my character like who I am because I know I am better than what I showed," he said.

By coming to the facility he's earned a few certificates.

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"HVAC, OSHA 30, etc. I am kind of a certified construction worker. I'm just waiting to be out there now. I am still working and taking my time. I'm just waiting though," said Thompson.

RecycleForce says in order to make a difference in cracking down on crime and re-offending, more workforce opportunities are needed.

"I want the public to know everyone deserves a second chance and it takes a village. We can't do this alone and once someone does their time. That stigma should be gone and we should support them. Please support us," said Johnson.

The official ribbon cutting of the new building will happen next June.