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About Us


To see Employer’s labor forces strengthened through our Shepherds Work Program Model!



To leverage our unique Shepherd model to deliver exceptional workers to courageous employers in order to promote sustainability, living wage earnings, and economic mobility to justice-impacted adults and dislocated workers in Greater Memphis.  

Our History

Economic Opportunities, LLC [EcOP] was established in 1991 as a program of the Memphis Leadership Foundation to serve individuals with prior criminal justice involvement.  EcOp was a program for On-The-Job [OJT] training with a general focus for the adult reentry population of the Greater Memphis area.  However, in 2017 EcOp’s program was revitalized initiating a new program model that transitioned into “The Shepherd’s Work Program” we are today.


EcOp’s purpose is to recruit, train, and develop “shepherds” who serve the justice-impacted adults and dislocated worker population in the Greater Memphis Area through life coaching, work-place mentoring, spiritual guidance, support services, career counseling, work readiness, direct job placement, and employer services by providing living wage employment pathways that lead to sustainable outcomes.


Annually Shelby County has over 7,000 returning citizens who need life development in multiple areas and employment opportunities.  Shelby County also has over 22,000 individuals actively on probation or parole each year who are required to maintain employment and improve their life management skills.  Without employment opportunities the likelihood of these individuals returning to prison is very high; national recidivism average is above 76%.  And without life development skills the likelihood of these individuals maintaining employment opportunities is very low.  We believe with a Shepherd guiding the way for these individuals is their greatest advantage to long term success.  Therefore our purpose is to provide Shepherds who will recruit & develop justice involved adults to be placed in various worksites through a life-on-life approach.  Our experience is that through our Shepherd's Work model we can empower justice-impacted adults to rebuild trust and restore faith within the communities they live by building into them self-sufficiency, economic mobility, and living wage income.


Ec Op employs life coaching, spiritual guidance, and mentoring to carry out its mission.  Our program model is centered around the Elements of Effective Practice six core standards for mentoring: Recruitment & Referrals, Screening & Eligibility, Training & Onboarding, Matching & Placement, Monitoring & Support, Closure & Transition, and Follow-up engagement.

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  1. We want to increase the median direct income of participants employed in our program to $18 an hour by October 1, 2025.

  2. We want to increase the average number of active participants from 44 to 132 by January 1, 2025.

  3. We want to increase the number of contracted employers' partners from 10 to 30 by October 1, 2025.

  4. We want to increase the total annual direct income to our worker participants from $1,160,433.57 to $4,942,080 by fiscal year-end September 2025.

  5. We want to increase our poverty-fighting impact by 235% by October 1, 2025.

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