Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $749,973)
Formerly incarcerated individuals face barriers upon reentry to their communities. Goodwill Industries of Arkansas (GIA) instituted a reentry program in 2009 to provide job and life skills training to men and women after incarceration. Reentry staff supports clients to reduce recidivism and promote public safety through job readiness training, job leads, job search and resume assistance, interview preparation, mock interviews, and job retention.
Primary reentry activities include pre-release and post-release services. GIA staff work with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, drug courts, and transitional living facilities to recruit and screen clients. Interested clients meet individually with Reentry Specialists monthly for pre-release and transition services. Clients can enroll in Reentry 101, which is a skills training curriculum for job readiness, personal development, soft skills, financial literacy, and career counseling. Post-release clients without marketable skills, or those needing intensive transition services, may enroll in the Transitional Employment Opportunity Program (TEO), which is a 16-week work-based program. TEO encompasses a holistic comprehensive curriculum created from the Character Prison Guide Curriculum, Matrix Model for Criminal Justice Settings, and Goodwill Works Curriculum.
The project model includes criminogenic risk and needs assessments to determine the intensity, scope and timing of services, case management, cognitive behavioral therapy, legal aid, career readiness, occupational skills training, job placement, and job retention follow-up. TEO includes career assessments (O*NET Interest Profiler), weekly one-on-one coaching, and a paid placement in a work-experience area at a GIA facility: administrative assistant, marketing, facilities maintenance, floor technician, information technology, and production.
Products and deliverables include in-person curriculum to meet the goal to assist 900 clients to increase employment and reduce recidivism over three years,
100% of enrolled clients will complete Intake and Enrollment,
85% of enrolled clients will receive at least two Support and Stabilization Services,
70-75% of enrolled clients will receive Education and Training services,
65% of enrolled clients will receive Employment and Advancement services,
75% of enrolled clients will receive Sustainability Transition and Follow Up services.
The service area is 17 sites plus three locations serving two small communities, in all four Congressional districts. In addition to paid work, clients will benefit from scholarships to Academy programs in welding and construction (HVAC, Carpentry, Electrical, Plumbing, and Industrial Maintenance). Tuition for welding is $3,775 and construction starts at $1,500. These careers are considered “felon friendly” as employers may not run a background check or are lenient on hiring those with a background.