Sto-Rox ACTES (Achieving Change Through Transitional Employment Services) is just one component of the Sto-Rox Community Violence Reduction Initiative.  Based on the READI Chicago program model, Sto-Rox ACTES is tailored to meet the needs of the Sto-Rox Community and focuses on those who are highest at risk of gun violence involvement: 

  • 87% are 18-32 years old
  • 94% are African-American
  • 17% are experiencing homelessness
  • 78% have lost a family member to gun violence

We are informed by evidence from evaluations of similar programs involving CBI, jobs, and increased pay, which have shown decreases in violence involvement, arrests, and recidivism among at-risk youth and young adults. We are providing these interventions to adult men who face high rates of arrests and victimizations, to evaluate their effectiveness in reducing gun violence in our community.  Sto-Rox ACTES connects people most at risk of gun violence involvement with employment in paid transitional jobs, cognitive behavioral therapy, and supportive services over 18 months to help them create a viable path and opportunities for a different future.  The ultimate goal of our program is to help reduce violence and save lives in the Sto-Rox community.



Sto-Rox ACTES relies on the expertise of community-based practitioners and partners in the criminal justice system, as well as the Sto-Rox School District, and the Allegheny County Housing Authority to identify program participants.  Our Sto-Rox ACTES Outreach Professionals keep close contact with our community partners, a visible presence in our community, and encourage an open line of communication with our community members.

Skills Building and Support Services

Our Sto-Rox ACTES team members work diligently to provide program participants with supports and access to services to help set them up for optimal and sustained success in work and in life.  Resume and interviewing skills, financial literacy skills, field trips to career centers, and personal connections to a variety of community resources are just a few of the ways our Team supports their program participants.  Our Sto-Rox ACTES team also works hard to provide participants with a sense of safety and camaraderie within cohorts.

Cognitive Behavioral Interventions

Just as READI Chicago, Sto-Rox ACTES incorporates the principles of cognitive behavioral interventions throughout the program. Research has shown that gun violence is often the result of split-second decisions. CBI is designed to help individuals slow down their thinking and respond less automatically in stressful situations.

Access to Jobs

Program participants are connected to 6 months of paid transitional employment.  This employment builds essential skills and promotes economic sustainability, not only for program participants but also in our Sto-Rox community, as our Sto-Rox ACTES team works closely with local employers.


Level 1

During Level 1, our Outreach Professionals not only find viable program candidates, they also work candidates through a rigorous intake and assessment process.  At Level 1, Outreach Professionals work to assure an individual is prepared to begin their journey.  Once an individual has been identified as a potential candidate, relationship and trust building between program participants and the Sto-Rox team begins.

Level 2

In Level 2, program participants begin their Cognitive Behavioral Interventions (CBI) group work, as well as personal/professional development.  An ACTES Coach is added at this level to increase support to participants.  Individuals develop skills, along with a strong CBI base which allows them to begin subsidized employment armed with self-regulating skills.  At this level, trust within the cohort is created and participants learn to support each other in their journey.



Level 3

During Level 3, program participants continue to attend CBT, but also begin their journey as Transitional Workers.  Through subsidized employment, participants practice work skills and self-regulation skills.  A Work Crew Supervisor is added as another level of support.  The Work Crew Supervisor is present with participants at their place of transitional employment to provide on-the-spot coaching, and also to work with employers to get feedback, resolve potential issues, and help create a positive experience for employers and program participants.

Level 4

Program participants begin working on their own.  They also attend career training where they learn advanced skills and receive certification. Once they complete their Pathway, they receive job placement services. Our Sto-Rox ACTES team will continue to provide program participants with support and mentoring even after they graduate from our program.  Our team believes that program participant’s success is a reflection of their own!

Program Manager, Sto-Rox ACTES
412-331-1685 ext.304
Walt Chancellor
Sto-Rox ACTES Work Crew Supervisor
412-331-1685 ext.236
TaMesha Jones
Sto-Rox ACTES Site Supervisor
412-331-1685 ext.306
Rae Zellous
Sto-Rox ACTES Outreach Professional
412-331-1685 ext. 229
Karen Mitchell
Sto-Rox ACTES Behavioral Health Manager
412-331-1685 ext.247
Tyrone Jackson
Sto-Rox ACTES Outreach Professional
412-331-1685 ext. 118
Sto-Rox ACTES Coach
412-331-1685 ext. 314
Monique Conley
Sto-Rox ACTES Program Assistant
412-331-1685 ext. 223


Violence devastates individuals and families, and threatens the health and future of our community. In 2022, amidst a rash of homicides and gun violence McKees Rocks was named “most dangerous city” in Pennsylvania.  There is no one solution to gun violence, and there are a number of promising approaches being implemented in Pittsburgh communities with support from Allegheny County and the philanthropic community. Sto-Rox ACTES was launched in conjunction with  CURE Violence and Sto-Rox BAM as programs under the Community Violence Reduction Initiative in the Sto-Rox community.  We believe this this program is crucial to reducing community violence, as it connects the highest-risk people to critical supports.  This program has the potential to save lives now and to create greater opportunity and safety for everyone over the long-term.

For more information, please contact Brett Douthett, CVRI Director at 412-331-1685.