We had the good fortune of connecting with Jonathan Yackley and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jonathan, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think about risk like investing in mutual funds. It could work out well for you, it could work out poorly, but if you consistently make calculated decisions over a long period of time, you will almost certainly be better off than if you just buried your money in a bank account. I’ve taken a number of risks in my career–most notably relocating to South Asia where I was involved in multiple projects and social enterprises for nearly a decade. The most important question I asked myself about those risks was, “Will the desired outcome of this risk honor my goals and values?” This question helps guide one away from shallow risk-taking like ‘get rich quick’ schemes and into risks that help us approach our deeper desires in life–risks like taking more enjoyment in less material possessions; standing with someone wearing a ‘scarlet letter’; laughing at someone’s joke that fell flat because you know how that feels; telling the truth when silence is so much more convenient; advocating for an unpopular decision at work because it is what you would do if it were your company.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Rise Up Industries’ mission is to minimize gang involvement by providing integrated gang prevention, intervention, and post-detention reentry programs. We began this three-pronged approach with the Reentry Program in response to the need San Diego has for reentry services. Our 18-month Reentry Program is in its sixth year of operation and provides a comprehensive set of services including employment, job-training, case management, tattoo removal, counseling, mentoring, education assistance, financial literacy, life skills training, and work ethic development. We pay full-time wages to Reentry Program members as they work their way through the program.

A key component of the Reentry Program is our Machine Shop Social Enterprise, where members are trained for careers as CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machine operators. This is a well-paid trade that is in high demand and can be performed until an old age, which is especially important for people who have spent decades incarcerated and have no retirement savings. It also fills a critical skills gap in San Diego’s machining industry where demand for skilled CNC machine operators far outweighs supply.

There are several things that set us apart:
1) We serve formerly incarcerated individuals that grew up in street gangs.
2) We are long-term and comprehensive–full-time for 18 months with wraparound services.
3) We pay full-time wages to members in the program (they work in our Machine Shop Social Enterprise, which helps offset program costs).
4) 100% of our graduates obtained immediate employment upon graduation and 0% returned to incarceration.
5) Members and graduates not only receive reentry services, but they also give back by helping youth make positive life choices.

What would I want the world to know about Rise Up Industries? We have a small team of monthly supporters called, “Widening the Circle.” The name is based on a quote from Father Greg Boyle: “Soon we imagine, with God, this circle of compassion. Then we imagine no one standing outside of that circle, moving ourselves closer to the margins so that the margins themselves will be erased… We situate ourselves right next to the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away.” We’d like to invite you to join this community. You can go to riseupindustries.org and make a monthly donation of any amount to join. Then let’s start a conversation about how we as a community can get closer to the day when we stop throwing people away.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Every other San Diegan will claim to know THE best Mexican food place. At the risk of offending half the county, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I happen to know the answer to this. It is ¡Salud! in Logan Heights. Then go down the street and get a coffee from Cafe Moto, the second best coffee in San Diego (second only to Rise Up Industries coffee of course!).

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am representing Rise Up Industries in this interview, so first of all, I want to recognize all of the brave members and graduates of that program. They took the risk of making the unpopular decision of dropping out of gangs and going to programs to better themselves while incarcerated. Now they are giving it their all to be productive members of society. A shoutout to the co-founders and staff of Rise Up Industries for pouring their hearts and souls into the Reentry Program and to Father Greg Boyle who took the risk of hanging out with gang members 35 years ago. Father Boyle founded Homeboy Industries, inspired the founding of Rise Up Industries, and even took me on as an intern before I had a clue what I was doing!

Website: https://riseupindustries.org

Instagram: riseup_industries

Linkedin: Rise Up Industries

Twitter: @RiseUpIn

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RiseUpIndustries/

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