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Manager, Workforce Development
401-223-1120, ext. 111
Training Academy News
By:Heather Singleton, Chief Operating Officer
You may want to consider hiring a work release candidate from the Department of Corrections. Hear me out on this….I attended the Roadmap for Reentry Summit that was sponsored by the US Attorney’s Office on May 25th. One of the statistics that was shared at this summit is that one in every three people has a connection to the prison system.
employer standpoint there are a variety of benefits to hiring an individual
from this system.
- They want to work and they need to work.
- They come with a team of supporters.
- They have many of the soft skills that other job candidates lack.
- They’ve learned a variety of technical skills while serving their sentence.
- Employers who hire these job candidates qualify for various wage reimbursement programs.
- Employers can “test out” a candidate through the work release program period and then offer employment upon release.
- The percentage of employee turnover for this population is significantly less than traditional hires.
These candidates have the soft skills that many other job candidates do not possess. I’m talking about things like having the desire and motivation to work; the ability to make eye contact and be confident in their communications; their ability to problem solve; and their ability to be held responsible for their actions and performance. We hear over and over again how these skills that I just mentioned are lacking in many of today’s job candidates. However these are the skills that former incarcerated individuals wear on their sleeves.
At the Summit there was a lot of discussion on what to call this population; “felons,” “thugs,” “scary,” “risky,” were all words to describe this population. Yet one panelist had, in my opinion, the best adjective: he called them “people” and he asked each person in the audience to think about one of their major mistakes that they made; something that you are not proud of; and imagine that you got caught and that everybody knows about it and you have to live with that stigma for the rest of your life.
We heard from two formerly incarcerated individuals who today are employed full-time. Crystal spent six years in the women’s prison. She told her story of how she was unemployed, a drug addict, and needed money to provide for her family and to feed her addiction. Today she is eight years sober and works full-time at a Woonsocket restaurant. She participated in a hospitality work readiness training program that was sponsored by our Hospitality Training Academy and the Governor’s Workforce Board. Crystal told the attendees that she would never have gotten her job without the team support that came with her upon her work release.
While incarcerated inmates receive a variety of educational and training programs, including basic education in reading and math, General Education Diploma (GED), Community College of Rhode Island higher education courses, and technical skills training in a variety of occupational sectors including culinary arts. In addition they receive case management and counseling services, job readiness training, and a post-conviction risk assessment that is available to employers. Upon release their probation officer is responsible for monitoring their success and reentry into society. They are eager to find employment because having a job and earning a paycheck is the first step in preventing recidivism.
If you would like more information on these hiring opportunities please call Nichole Jorel, Career Advisor, at (401) 223-1120 ext. 111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org