I was recently contacted by Study.com about a free guide they produced to help formerly incarcerated adults overcome obstacles and provide resources to help them seek education or find a career. It is a very well-rounded resource that you should read through if you, yourself, are formerly incarcerated, or if you are working with adults that are seeking education and employment after incarceration. It’s divided into 5 sections for easy access to the type of information you’re seeking.
In this post, I will cover the 5 sections of this guide and highlight content and resources from each.
According to study.com, “There’s good news: at its best, America is still a land of hope and second chances. According to statistics and plenty of inspirational stories, there are two ways to overcome the grim figures above: education and employment. That's why we've put together this guide: to offer resources and tips for earning your high school diploma, getting a college degree, and securing a job after prison. In it, we'll cover the first steps you should take, how to apply for jobs and schools, how to get help paying for school, jobs you can get without a degree and organizations that can help every step of the way.”
Section 1: Things to Do Before Applying to School and Jobs
There are number of things a formerly incarcerated person must do before applying for jobs including: secure and ID, get a phone number, and fulfill court-ordered requirements. The guide offers a short list that is very manageable for the formerly incarcerated person. Be sure to check the list here.
Section 2: Re-Entry Assistance Programs for Former Inmates
The guide highlights a number of reentry resources such as National Reentry Resource Center for formerly incarcerated adults to find links to agencies across the country that offer reentry assistance including emergency aid, housing, family services, skills training, job finders and more.
Also, The National Helping Individuals with criminal records Re-enter through Employment H.I.R.E. Network has a database of practical resources for returning citizens. Check out the map and click on a state to find local resources for housing, work-release, tax help, legal assistance and other community organizations that may be able to help.
Section 3: Education, Degrees, & Financial Aid After Incarceration
Some prisons offer or require incarcerated people to pursue a GED or high school equivalency but studying for and taking the GED after release is also a great idea. For more information on the GED, including frequently asked questions, test registration dates and more, check out their GED Resources Page.
To apply for college, the article covers the documents you'll need to gather, the process of applying and what's different about applying to college with a criminal record. They also list some degrees that are ideal for formerly incarcerated people.
- Associate's Degree In Entrepreneurship
- Associate's Degree In Computer Science
- Associate's In Culinary Arts
- Associate's Degree In Marketing
- Associate's, Bachelor's or Master's in Social Work
Finally, they list resources to apply for financial aid such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form, the need-based aid Pell Grant, and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. Persons recently released from prison might also be eligible for Employment and Training Administration Grants.
Section 4: Getting a Job After Prison
There are plenty of good companies out there who are looking for good people; these companies take pride in offering a second chance. Resources like Jailtojob.com and Hire Felons keep up-to-date lists of companies that hire returning citizens.
Most delighting to me are the companies that believe in second chances including Goodwill, Butterball Farms, Cascade Engineering, and Dave's Killer Bread. There are also 3 websites with additional employment resources for formerly incarcerated individuals: CareerOneStop, Second Chance Jobs, and Help for Felons.
Section 5: Interview with the Experts
Wisely, the guide concludes with answers from experts on how formerly incarcerated people should discuss their time while incarcerated, along with other advice for formerly incarcerated individuals who are preparing to re-enter the job market.
The experts include Frank Martin, the former Education Coordinator of the Oregon Youth Association and the current Director of World Possible Justice, a non-profit that uses technology to help educate incarcerated individuals and Jason Perrins, the Principal of Lord High School at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility. Scroll to the bottom on the guide for this information.Access the entire resource here.