In April, we recognize Second Chance Month, a time to raise awareness of the challenges facing people with justice-involved backgrounds and to spotlight the important work being done by community-based organizations to empower second chance individuals to achieve career and life success.
Did you know that more than 600,000 individuals are released from state and federal prisons every year in the United States? To prepare for successful reentry into their communities, they need tools and resources to overcome obstacles to employment, housing and social activities.
This is why Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont partners with The Center for Community Transitions (CCT), an organization that helps justice-involved individuals and their families with employment and reentry services. We help to connect Goodwill participants with justice-involved backgrounds to CCT to take advantage of their specialized supports, and help to enroll CCT participants into job training programs at Goodwill. Together, we help to reduce recidivism by providing people with criminal records and their families tools and resources to rebuild their lives.
CCT’s LifeWorks! Program, focused on employment readiness, is based at the Goodwill Opportunity Campus, which helps foster the relationship between the two organizations and to provide a better experience for participants. Together, we offer individuals opportunities to engage in learning, skills development, work experience and holistic reintegration services.
Here at Goodwill, we know that the real work involves addressing the public policies and systemic practices that can contribute to a lack of access to opportunity. We seek to advance policy solutions that help people impacted by the justice system have a second chance for success and a fair chance for employment. Former offenders seeking jobs are only successful if companies are willing to look beyond their criminal record and implement proactive and well-informed employment practices. That’s why we advocate for second-chance employment and are proud to hire formerly incarcerated individuals.
By investing in community-based reentry programs, providing greater access to pre- and post-release education and training, promoting fair-chance hiring practices, removing barriers to employment and occupational licensing, and addressing the collateral consequences of conviction, second-chance individuals can change their lives through learning and the power of work!
We encourage you to read James Shepherd’s story. After spending four years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, James finally had his conviction overturned and was looking to get his life back on track. He was able to enroll in Goodwill’s construction skills training program and launch into a new career!