OWDS Partnership Training: Career and Workforce Development and Implementation

By Carter, Francina | Corrections Today, September-October 2013 | Go to article overview

OWDS Partnership Training: Career and Workforce Development and Implementation


Carter, Francina, Corrections Today


The National Institute of Corrections (NIC), in collaboration with the National Career Development Association, provides state and local correctional agencies and their partners with Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS) Partnership Training. OWDS is intensive, competency-based training for correctional staff involved in offender employment. The training uses blended learning to develop participants' abilities in 12 competencies (see Table 1) that provide them with the skills needed to assist offenders with career planning, job placement, job retention and career advancement.

Table 1. Twelve Competencies of Offender Workforce Development
Specialty Training

Career Theory                         Knowledge of four career
                                      theories that specialists may
                                      use ID assist offenders with
                                      job choice, career planning and
                                      transition

facilitation Skills                   Communication skills--such as
                                      attending, listening,
                                      reflecting, encouraging and
                                      questioning--that contribute to
                                      the creation of an environment
                                      that efficiently and
                                      effectively assists offenders
                                      with job placement and career
                                      planning

Diversity                             Knowledge of the identifiable
                                      differences between and among
                                      members of various groups that
                                      may affect an individual's
                                      career choices

Assessment                            Knowledge of various assessment
                                      tools, techniques, applications
                                      and skills needed to administer
                                      and interpret self-help
                                      instruments for use with
                                      offenders

Instruction and Croup Facilitation    Skills for providing group
                                      instruction and facilitation of
                                      activities and interactive
                                      exercises

Barriers                              Knowledge of barriers that
                                      offenders encounter upon
                                      transition to the community,
                                      and skills to identify ways to
                                      remove and/or minimize those
                                      barriers

Transition and Interventions          Knowledge and development of
                                      interventions, including the
                                      development of goals and action
                                      plans that offenders may use as
                                      they transition to full- or
                                      part-time employment

Retention                             Knowledge of the importance of
                                      job retention as a primary
                                      factor in reduced recidivism,
                                      identification of interventions
                                      that have the potential to
                                      improve offender job retention
                                      and the ability to teach these
                                      skills to offenders

Ethics                                Knowing and abiding by the
                                      Global Career Development
                                      Facilitator Code of Ethics,
                                      including recognizing
                                      appropriate role boundaries
                                      related to training and scope
                                      of practice

Job Seeking and Employ ability        Knowledge of access to labor
                                      market information,
                                      pre-employment preparation, job
                                      search skills and job retention
                                      strategies, in addition to how
                                      1o teach these skills to
                                      offenders

Career Information and Technology     Knowledge of and ability to
                                      locate occupational and
                                      educational information
                                      available in print and on the
                                      Internet, and how to apply this
                                      information to assist offenders
                                      with job placement and career
                                      planning

Designing and Implementing Training   Knowledge of the basic
and Workforce Development Services    principles of program planning
                                      and implementation, including
                                      evaluation, promotion and
                                      public relations, and the
                                      skills to apply this knowledge
                                      to the development and delivery
                                      of broad-based programs for
                                      offender populations and the
                                      training of professionals in
                                      career development

OWDS is a 160-hour training program--consisting of 80 hours of classroom instruction offered in two 40-hour sessions--delivered approximately three months apart.

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