Earthrise Enterprises, Inc. is a non-profit schedule C business entity that was designed by the Berks County Juvenile Probation Office. It was established in 1992 and continues to be managed by a volunteer board of directors that meet on a quarterly basis. The purpose is to provide delinquent youth the opportunity to learn employment skills while earning money. The program allows youth to experience the responsibilities of having a job including: wearing a standard uniform, reporting for their scheduled shifts, understanding respect for superiors, co-workers, and customers, and to be willing to take direction.
Earthrise Enterprises, Inc. is a snack shop business venture operating out of the Berks County Services Center. The snack shop is a full-time operation that can employ up to six youth working two shifts from 7:30am to 11:00am and 11:00am to 3:00pm. The snack shop not only serves breakfast and lunch to County employees and visitors of the Services Center, but also caters local meetings.
For many of the youth, this is their first job. The youth are guided through this new experience with assistance from three adult supervisors. One is full-time while the other two are part-time. Each supervisor has their own personality which offers the youth the ability to work under various supervisory techniques.
The youth receive basic minimum wages, with the opportunity to earn raises or other rewards such as gift certificates for perfect attendance or employee of the month. The youth are monitored by a daily evaluation chart that grades them on nine areas such as attendance, quality of work, quantity of work, initiative and dependability. It is the goal of the program to introduce the youth to basic business practices, including daily bank deposits, monthly inventory, and ordering supplies. The youth remain with Earthrise for approximately 3 to 4 months. Most of the youth complete their probation requirements and their cases are closed. Other youth obtain employment based upon the skills they acquired at Earthrise. There are a few youth that are not successful within this program and they are terminated from employment.
Since receiving training funds in 2003, Earthrise strives to achieve the quarterly goals as established by the TANF agreement. These goals were met on numerous quarterly and annual reviews. The most prestigious achievement to date was being named "Outstanding Program of the Year for 2006" by the Juvenile Court Judges Commission of Pennsylvania.