Free Minds Receives Record Number of Applications
Applications for the Free Minds class of 2011-12 closed on July 5th, marking the end of our most successful recruitment season to date. With outreach efforts spanning the city of Austin — from the public libraries to the Housing Authority to the inboxes of City employees across Austin — we ended up with over 100 applications, more than double the number we received last year. We attribute this phenomenon in part to increased word-of-mouth publicity, with 25% of applicants reporting that they were referred to Free Minds by co-workers, friends, or family, and another 40% who heard about the program through our tireless advocates at Foundation Communities, Goodwill, and other local organizations. (Another 15% were City and State employees who received a citywide email update sent out in June.)
This recruitment season was marked by a number of firsts. In April we rolled out our first-ever online application, and in July we convened a brand-new committee to help score applications and develop a set of criteria by which to select applicants for interviews.
Interviews with qualified applicants are now underway and will continue through the end of the month. An orientation for new students will be held on August 15th, and classes start the following week.