If you’re close enough to the resources and you’re close to the community, I command you to be the bridge.

– Philip Cooper

Philip is the coordinator of a non-profit program called UpSkill WNC, where he helps citizens who have recently been released from prison to reenter the workforce and find their voice in the world again. Philip also does group facilitation and motivational speeches through his consultancy, Change Agent Cooper.

During the interview, Philip, full of charisma and positive energy, tells us his personal story of reentry after residing in prison for three years and how he is harnessing his past experience to help others reenter the community. He also shares his opinions on how we can make change happen in our communities.

“If we really want to have an impact on the community, we’ve got to make sure people from that community…can identify who their champions are and have those people at the table whenever we make decisions about people in those communities,” says Philp.

Here’s What You’ll Learn in this Episode

  • Philip’s story of how he is making it in Asheville
  • Burn out vs. burning it down
  • Causes of and solutions for opportunity gaps
  • How Philip is helping to educate employers about their implicit biases when hiring
  • A non-traditional definition of entrepreneurship
  • The power of relationships
  • The key to making changes happen in your community, according to Philip

Show Notes

UpSkill WNC provides comprehensive community-based peer support for justice-involved citizens who are reentering the workforce with an emphasis on those who have been released from prison within the past year. They assist low-income individuals with acquiring skills that local employers require, and connect them to employment that will provide self-sustaining wages. Connect with them via their Facebook page.

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Music by Commonwealth Choir

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