Reentry Life Skills Program will seek to disseminate information to
ex-offenders with the purpose of educating them and empowering them to move
past their present situation and become identified as productive, respected
members of society.The program will
address issues that are common to ex-offenders recently released into society
and offer them knowledge of their situation, information to guide them to
overcoming stigma and recidivism, and resources to ensure their success.This program will use the model set forth by
the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, and the
Office of Adult Services, Division of Welfare-to-Work.The research, education, and life experience
of the facilitator will serve as a resource as well.
Addressing Legal and Practical
program will seek to address and negotiate the unique barriers presented to
ex-offenders.The program will utilize
group meetings and one-on-one peer counseling sessions to accomplish this
goal.First, legal barriers will be
identified to include legal restrictions imposed on ex-offenders, and welfare
and employment laws.Then, practical
barriers will be identified.Some of
those barriers include limited resources for ex-offenders, weak support
networks, dysfunctional communities and neighborhoods, negative attitudes,
unclear goals, lack of job search skills, questionable work histories and
workplace skills, and limited education and training.
identifying these barriers, the program will focus on two major areas.Those areas are structured to serve both
employers and participants to facilitate a working relationship that will
benefit both parties.
Addressing the Employers’ Needs
serving the employers’ needs it is necessary to become familiar with laws and
legislation that affect the employment of individuals with criminal
records.It is also essential to
recognize and respond to the legitimate concerns of employers.By doing so, it will be easier to identify
employers that will hire ex-offenders.Another big component of making a successful program is to reduce the
transaction costs associated with hiring new employers.This is accomplished in several ways.
First, the participant must be equipped adequately.
Second, the financial incentives to hiring ex-offenders must be emphasized.By making the employer aware of government programs such as the Federal Bonding Program, the Workforce Investment Assistance, on the job training, Welfare to Work subsidies, Work Opportunity Tax Credits and other various tax credits, and even offering to process the paperwork for them, the program will become more attractive to potential employers.
A further incentive is to offer post-employment services.Our commitment to our participants does not end when they are employed.We will also offer post-employment to the employers such as ESL, childcare and transportation assistance, and occupational training.We may act as a liaison between the employer and the employee and assist them to resolve problems that may arise.By taking the initiative in addressing issues that might otherwise compromise the working relationship of the participant and their employers, we will be providing an additional incentive to employers to hire future participants.
Third, a spectrum of issues uniquely faced by the ex-offender must be comprehensively addressed.
Addressing the Ex-Offenders’ Needs
The second major area is to serve the ex-offender by equipping them to accept employment.To accomplish this, there must be a focus in five general areas.
Focus One will identify and address state and federal laws pertinent to ex-offenders.
Focus Two will address cleaning up RAP sheets, so that negative, inaccurate information that may be contained on them will not make the transition to society more difficult.
Focus Three will involve counseling the participant on how to effectively address their criminal record with employers.The goal of this portion of the program is to encourage the participant to realize and actively work on several interpersonal areas and to empower them to grow beyond their past actions and attain positive, productive positions in society that will serve as an encouragement to others that may follow.Some of the areas of interest are finances, relationships, employment, attitudes and behaviors, and mental and physical health.
Focus Four is geared to assisting the participant in obtaining documentation essential for their successful reentry.(i.e. driver’s license, birth certificate, social security card)
Focus Five will seek to link the participants to supportive services they need, to include mental health professionals, family planning agencies, and local government authorities.