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Converting Old Stewart Iron Works to Life Learning Center
COVINGTON, Ky. (Joe Webb) -- Nearly 100 people braved the semi-cold of an unheated old factory to celebrate a heartwarming venture.
Since 2006, the Life Learning Center has taught, coached and cared for 950 northern Kentuckians on the verge of homelessness. The old Stewart Iron Works Plant on Madison Ave. will be the LLC's new home.
The facility will have 6 classrooms, cafeteria, assembly hall, library, computer lab, day care and night care center. They're moving from a smaller space on Covington's 15th street and will occupy two floors of the historic factory. They run a 16-week program for clients.
The goal: turn around the lives of the one in three northern Kentuckians who live in poverty. They claim success.
"We have about 66% of our folks seeing employment. 63% that are retaining employment for 6 months to 12 months."
Rugenta Asakwa came to the program two and a half years ago. She was a recent immigrant from Cameroon who spoke little English, had no work history and didn't know what a resume was.
"I was able to get two jobs in about 3 weeks. So I was able to move into my own place, get a car and it's been great so far."
Now she's a decorated employee of Horseshoe Casino. The old Stewart Iron Works has a rich history. This is where the cells were built for Leavenworth, Sing Sing and Alcatraz. And the entrance gates to the Panama Canal.
The new product will be hope. Something Lenette Beasley didn't have when she lost her job of 22-years and showed up at the Life Learning Center.
"I was completely financially and emotionally devastated. I don't think I would have been able to pull myself out of the hole without the Life Learning Center."
Soon they'll have a bigger, better place to carry out their mission. Opening doors for people in a place that used to make jails.
They hope to have the work done and move into the facility this summer.