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BY DONNA ROGERS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

GTL’s Inspire inmate tablet education solution provides 65,000 pieces of credentialed content from major education content providers.

EMPLOYMENT EMPOWERMENT

Being employed has been proven to help keep ex-offenders out of jail/prison. From advocacy to skills training to job data bases, here are ways they can get help.

P

ablo Gaxiola spent 15 years in prison. Upon release three years ago, he was invited to a job workshop, which he admits to attending with just the smallest bit of hope that something could change. After an initial assessment and orientation he was in fact given a job as an administrative clerk, utilizing experience and skills he learned while in prison. From that role, he was able to fill an open position as peer mentor, and recently has been promoted to placement coordinator—a job that helps others like himself find employment. He reports that while life isn’t per44 CORRECTIONS FORUM • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017

fect: “I am confident, self-aware, capable, and most of all, overcome with hope that the future I once feared, is now filled with promise.” Gaxiola is part of Goodwill of Silicon Valley’s New Opportunity Work (NOW) program, one of a small but growing number of programs that help those with criminal records gain employment. Now celebrating 115 years, Goodwill Industries International Inc. states that it has helped over 217,000 people get back to work this year.

BACKGROUND

The fact is that about 70 million people in the U.S. have some

sort of criminal record, and nearly 700,000 return to communities annually after being released from jail or prison. They will all need jobs. Studies have shown that post-release employment has a significant impact on recidivism rates. At the same time, the higher level of formal education they attain, the greater the prospects of employment at sustainable wages. According to a recent RAND Corporation study called Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education, “The odds of obtaining employment postrelease among inmates who participated in either academic or vocational correctional education

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September / October 2017  
September / October 2017  
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