How Corrections Departments Are Preparing People for In-Demand Careers That Support America’s Infrastructure

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With demand for workers rising, employers are more open than ever to hiring people with conviction histories, and Departments of Correction (DOCs) are positioning people in their custody to secure career-track infrastructure jobs. DOCs have developed strategic partnerships with employers, colleges, and community-based organizations to provide job training in high-demand industries. People leaving prison need these training programs, and research suggests a career in a high-quality industry may reduce recidivism. This brief presents five case studies of state DOCs and their partners that have created robust job training programs that provide incarcerated people opportunities to earn industry-relevant credentials and prepare for in-demand careers after release. Through these programs, combined with reentry preparation, DOCs and their partners are creating opportunities for people to return to the community job-ready, with relevant certifications and licenses, necessary identification and documentation, and connections to employers willing and ready to hire formerly incarcerated people.

Key Takeaway

Job training programs, especially those that prepare students for career-track industry jobs, are essential to set incarcerated people up for success post-release. Career-track jobs, with union-memberships, benefits, and reliable and well-paying salaries, help reduce recidivism and ensure people with conviction histories can thrive.

Publication Highlights

  • Job training programs for incarcerated people often make pursuing industry jobs much more accessible, because students are sometimes eligible for interest-free loans and other financial assistance.

  • Stable employment after release that leads to a higher-level position, higher wages, and more job security substantially contributes to a person’s success after prison and their ability to maintain their freedom.

  • In addition to equipping students with instruction, skills, and experience, job training programs provide critical connections for incarcerated people with unions and employers.

Key Facts