Community Corrections Employability Skills Program
This program was created as a joint project between Monroe County Employment and Training Department (MCETD) and Monroe County Community Corrections. The Employability Skills Program's goal is to prevent and reduce incarceration through education and meaningful employment. In looking at the jail population, one can easily relate unemployment/underemployment and lack of education to those committing crime. The overcrowding of the jail spurred the development of this program, which is focused on rehabilitation.
DISTRICT COURT/CIRCUIT COURT
To prevent incarceration, Probation Officers refer those offenders that are unemployed, underemployed and/or with no High School diploma or GED to the ReEntry Liaison at MCETD. The offender, as a condition of his or her probation, is expected to follow the Probation Officer's directive to contact MCETD. They may be required to complete their GED, obtain job referrals, and attend workshops that will assist them in finding employment that will pay them a living wage.
Offenders benefit from workshops teaching resume writing, interviewing, coping with their conviction, and addressing a lack of work history or a work gap. Counseling services are also available. Individuals receive job leads that are appropriate based on skills and interests.
IN JAIL EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS PROGRAM
The In-Jail Employability Skills program is for those inmates who are unemployed or underemployed. Inmates are chosen based on their out date (within 45 days of release) and their employment skills. Workshops are one week long (10 hours) and are conducted at the Monroe County Corrections Center and the Monroe County Inmate Dormitory Facility.
Workshops cover resume writing, job skill identification, applications, interviewing skills, dealing with a conviction when seeking employment, independent living, and the importance of working. A variety of materials are used to teach the workshops, including video tapes depicting former offenders seeking employment, career interest assessments, and assignments focusing on skills, abilities, and goals once released.
Once the inmate has satisfactorily completed all the sessions, the ReEntry Liaison requests that the judge reduces the inmate's sentence by five days. After the inmate is released, he/she is referred to the MCETD. If he or she lives in another county, the ReEntry Liaison refers them to the Michigan Works! Agency in his or her area.
The creation of this program was based on two premises. One, more programs were needed to reduce jail population and find alternatives in incarceration because of overcrowding. Two, the majority of the jail population is unemployed without a High School diploma or GED. This rehabilitative program encourages living legally and taking responsibility for themselves and their families.