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Meet Renae Johnson of OnPurpose in Northwest Houston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Renae Johnson.

Renae is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of OnPurpose Enrichment, Inc. (OnPurpose). The mission of her nonprofit is to cultivate a sense of purpose in youth by enriching their education, careers, and their lives. Youth who participate in our programs are offered paid Apprenticeships wrapped in an abundance of opportunities for educational advancement and life success planning.

So much of OnPurpose history is tied to the story of its founder and rooted in her principals. Renae was inspired by overcoming the challenges of inequality, domestic violence, sexual assault, and long-term poverty. A success story of the Job Training Partnership Act of 1982, the Kiwanis Builder’s Club, NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympic (ACT-SO) and Baptist and Educational Missionary Convention programs, Renae is driven to bring even greater success and opportunity to disadvantaged youth.

The daughter of a pastor and social entrepreneur, Renae, began her journey learning the inner-workings of nonprofits and businesses. As she became an experienced leader in the field, her goal was to help as many youth serving organizations as possible. In 2009, she developed a training program designed to introduce social entrepreneurship concepts while expanding the capacity of small Christian nonprofits and female entrepreneurs. In 2016, she formalized the nonprofit as a 501C3 tax-exempt organization but she wasn’t fulfilled. She wanted to “directly” impact the lives of youth. For this reason, she established the organization as a social enterprise model under the name of NationSync, and recently rebranded as OnPurpose.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
OnPurpose is very unique so it has been extremely challenging. Critics of the model thought the idea of a nonprofit built around a for-profit “help desk support contact center” would never work. However, I would have never been the person I am today without the help of the JTPA job training program. As a poor kid in a rural community I looked forward to my paid internship every year. I lived for the college experiences, outings, service learning projects, mock businesses, and everything else that came along with that. So I persist, and OnPurpose’s growth continues to exceed my expectations year after year.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with OnPurpose – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
OnPurpose has three core programs geared toward advancing our youth into high-demand and high-growth careers; Education, Apprenticeship, and Wraparound Services. Our programs are designed to provide a comprehensive, holistic, and family-driven way of responding to the long-term effects of poverty in our communities. OnPurpose programs are person-centered with the support from a team of caring professionals. Each person’s ideas and perspectives about what they need, drive our work.

Our apprenticeship programs transform the education experience. Completion of the sequence combines academic and technical classroom instruction with work experience through an “Earn & Learn” model. It provides the foundation for youth less likely to attend college to choose among multiple pathways – to obtain gainful employment, enter into high-growth and high-wage occupations or enroll in college.

What sets us apart from others is the fact that we pay our youth to learn! We are a social service agency AND an employer that is a Registered Apprenticeship program through the US Department of Labor. Graduates from our program benefit from 1) A national industry-recognized apprenticeship credential; 2) Opportunities to receive high-demand IT certifications (A+, Google IT, IT Fundamentals, and more); and, 3) Paid on-the-job training.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Over the next five years, our goal is to establish ourselves as a leading nonprofit organization that is eliminating barriers to youth in need while transforming the system of education and work. We also plan to open an additional contact center in the Acres Homes Community of Houston, Texas.

Contact Info:

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