NIC Teaches How to Help People with Criminal Records Find Jobs

Article excerpt

Entering the labor market can be a confusing and sometimes overwhelming experience. Skilled practitioners are well aware that people with criminal records struggle with complicated life circumstances and encounter many challenges regarding job acquisition, retention and advancement. For successful integration into today's work force, many people with criminal records are dependent upon work force development professionals to assist them in developing a lifelong process for making well-informed decisions based on their abilities, interests and opportunities in their local labor market. National emphasis on preparing people for the work force and the significant impact of employment retention upon recidivism has increased the demand for qualified and trained professionals to provide specialized employment services for people with criminal records.

The National Institute of Corrections' Offender Workforce Development Division is the primary source of training tailored specifically for providers of employment services for people with criminal records. The Offender Workforce Development Division has developed curricula to meet the training needs of employment service providers from entry level through training that leads to professional certification.

NIC offers the following training curricula at no cost. Most curricula are available by contacting the NIC Information Center at 1-800-877-1461 or

Offender Employment Specialist (OES): Building Bridges is an entry-level training program for practitioners who assist offenders in securing and retaining employment. The target audiences for this training include those who work in prisons, jails, probation, parole, one stops, career resource centers, government agencies, and faith-based and community organizations. Trainees learn how to improve employment outcomes for persons with criminal histories through strategies addressed in the curriculum, including collaboration, assessment, job readiness and job development. Request item 021698.

Building Futures: Offender Job Retention for Corrections Professionals is a 36-hour NIC distance learning satellite/Internet broadcast program that aired in October 2002. It covers the skills, strategies and resources needed to address job retention issues and increase employment success of people with criminal records. Training modules address assessment, job match and advancement, employment retention strategies, and system/agency change needed to support job retention. Request item 017699.

Training for Career Resource Center Clerks is a self-paced or group-facilitated curriculum that may be used by jails to train volunteers and by prisons in training inmates to help transition people with criminal records back into the labor market through career planning and job search assistance provided by the facilities' career resource center. Trainees will learn how to assess their own vocational aptitudes and interests, develop skills needed to obtain and retain employment, and use available resources to assist in their transition to the work force. Request item 020931.

NIC and the National Career Development Association (NCDA) have partnered to offer the following training to jurisdictions at no cost:

Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS) Partnership Training provides, by invitation only, an opportunity for select jurisdictions to train a 10-person team as a core group of Offender Workforce Development specialist instructors to develop the local capacity for training additional staff. …