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WORCS - Work Opportunities, Resilient Communities incorporates best-practices to prepare reentrants with job-readiness skills using cognitive behavioral programming and integrating sustainable jobs.

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $900,000)

WORCS - Work Opportunities, Resilient Communities is a project that marries the reentry sector and the best practices from the workforce development fields together. The project involves 60 reentrants per year. The project provides two frameworks of employment-related services: Job Readiness and Workforce Development. The job – readiness skills are anchored to soft-skill development, including addressing cognitive-related attitudinal issues. This soft/cognitive skill development is taught in pre-release and further emphasized in post-release. In the post-release setting, the job-readiness skills are integrated in a cognitive-behavioral change curriculum. The Texas University curriculum – “Getting Motivated to Change” will be incorporated.
The second framework is Workforce Development in which reentrants are first immersed in a transitional job where they can apply their newly acquired job-readiness skills while being monitored by a case manager. After the probationary period of 90 days, the second half of Workforce Development is matching reentrants with a career path that best matches their skills and aptitude. Participants will conduct a self -assessment using the O*NET Interest Profiler Short Form, O*NET Interest Profiler Short Form Career Starter, and the Survey Items for Incarcerated Sample. Under the guidance of a job coach, results and interest can then be matched with either programming that features apprenticeships, programming that features entrepreneurial business models, or vocational certification programming. 
Finally, this project is enhanced because it is in support of Executive Order 13985. La Plaza Delaware is a culturally specific organization that works with the Hispanic population and now reentry. The needs of the Hispanic population parallel the needs of the reentry population with respect . The issues faced by Latino immigrants in Sussex County include the trauma experienced in their home countries as well as numerous difficulties faced here: cultural, language, legal, and financial barriers to stability and integration. Although a reentrant may not have the disadvantage of being displaced from their home country, they too face legal and financial barriers to stability and integration. Add to that the self-preservation patterns of poor and indigenous people and those with a criminal justice past that dictate a low-profile, and it is not surprising that both populations rely exclusively on their inner circles of family, friends, and faith for help, information, and resources, instead of seeking this support from mainstream government or related agencies. with trusted faith-based organizations to position the program as safe and legitimate. 
More importantly, there is an overlap of social identities between the Latino population and those from a criminal justice past with both sharing an intersectional framework of discrimination and marginalization within a community. La Plaza has defined standards that make it easier for Latinos to take advantage of programs and opportunities that could change their lives. The leadership of La Plaza understands that cultural competence goes far beyond language. It involves developing a true understanding of the historic and present-day experiences of Latino immigrants and now extended to reentrants, and meeting people where they are.

Date Created: September 29, 2022