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Washington, D.C. Jobs Help for Prisoners

Helping incarcerated people get ready for a Washington, D.C. job also could help the local economy.

In December 2008, the District of Columbia opened the Employment Readiness Center in the Central Detention Facility, which is meant to help those who are 45 to 60 days from release prepare for a job search. The center is a joint project between the Department of Corrections and the Department of Employment Services. Project Empowerment, which is part of the DOES, manages the center and provided $21,679 for supplies and equipment.

“The Employment Readiness Center reflects the District’s strong commitment to providing the resources critical to facilitating the reentry process for inmates on the cusp of release,” Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said in a press release. “Being equipped with the skills necessary to apply for and land a job increases the likelihood that these returning residents can become self-sufficient and make positive contributions to the community.”

The center provides a variety of services that help inmates with their occupational development and encourages them to find meaningful work in D.C. These services are meant to parallel the DOES One-Stop Career Centers.

Among others, the Employment Readiness Center provides these services:

  • career assessment
  • career information about jobs in demand in the Washington metropolitan area
  • job counseling and guidance
  • interviewing and resume preparation workshops
  • life skills and job readiness workshops
  • personal computer training
  • occupational skills training and apprenticeship opportunities
  • Inmates who demonstrate a commitment to transitioning into the community by successfully completing the program receive:

  • a certificate of achievement of important job readiness skills
  • a written referral to a DOES case manager to help ensure successful transition to the community and employment
  • vocational guidance and access to other available supportive services, such as immediate job placement assistance and referrals for job interviews, on-the-job training, enrollment in occupational skills training, educational courses or apprenticeship training
  • “The Department of Corrections continues to provide individuals with opportunities to become more constructively oriented while in custody, while at the same time preparing them for their subsequent return to society,” DOC Director Devon Brown said in the release. “This center is a part of our comprehensive reentry services program that begins at intake through release.”

    “Our returning ex-offenders face tremendous barriers to employment, and we want to help give them the skills and opportunities they need to return to the workforce.” DOES Acting Director Joseph Walsh said added in the release. “The kind of effective employment services provided by the center will help people contribute to the economic success of their families and their communities here in the District.”