JOBview 2nd chance gives offenders head start

Getting a head start

There’s an old saying: "You don’t work, you don’t eat." That’s the simple fact of life in society where being employed means the difference between sleeping in an apartment or under a bridge. For an ex-felon, especially one on parole, the situation is even more crucial. Gainful employment is often the difference between freedom and incarceration. Not having a reliable source of legitimate financial support leaves ex-felons more susceptible to recidivism as they may resort to criminal activity to survive.

A newly–released offender is under pressure to find a job to pay parole fees, to pay expenses wherever they are residing, and in general, to rebuild life after a years-long hiatus. With the above in mind, finding a job is of the utmost importance, but the job search can be a frustrating ordeal. There are a limited number of jobs matching the job seekers’ qualifications, and there is a limited window of time per day to spend looking. Then there is the question that lurks in the back of every ex-offender’s mind: will my felony conviction prevent me from getting this job?

Wouldn’t it be a great thing if an offender could begin the job search before he or she even got out of prison? Wouldn’t it be great to have a head start and practically have a job waiting upon release? Modern technology just may have an answer.

Windham School District (WSD), in partnership with TDCJ, is introducing a standalone kiosk: JOBview 2ndChance.

It allows people returning to the community from prisons and jails to search for jobs. JOBview 2ndChance kiosks are "prison-ready" because the user does not have access to a keyboard or to the Internet. The offender selects the city and type of job, and jobs are searched using a touch screen interface, controlling and limiting what the user can see and do. Company names, job descriptions, and job application requirements and instructions, can be printed directly from the kiosk to assist the user with later follow-up. JOBview 2ndChance provides access to nearly two million job listings nationwide.

JOBview definitely has the approval of Veronica Casanova, director of WSD Instructional Services Division.

Preparation is key to successful reintegration."We’re very excited to expand access to JOBview for our students. Preparation is key to successful reintegration. JOBview provides current, relevant information to releasing offenders so that they can hit the ground ready for employment," Casanova said.

JOBview benefits the offender in a number of ways. They get a 30 to 90 day head start on their job search and they have the opportunity to practice electronic job-searching, a technology they commonly encounter upon release.

JOBview lets offenders find jobs based on the particular experience or interest they may have. "I have previous experience as a grill cook and would like to work at a restaurant chain when I get out. Through JOBview, I learned that I would have to send this restaurant chain a resume to be considered for the job," a JOBview user from the Dominguez State Jail said.

"The JOBview kiosk has been very useful for a lot of people. It gives offenders focus on certain available jobs prior to release. It has given several inmates hope in getting the jobs they found on the kiosk," a teacher’s aid on the Lychner Unit said.

JOBview also benefits correctional facilities that choose to implement it. One significant advantage of JOBview is that it frees staff from the time consuming activity of finding and printing out job listings for offenders who are about to re-enter society. In fact, JOBview requires no staff at all to operate. JOBview is self-service and requires no training because its user interface is self explanatory. To date, the JOBview 2ndChance kiosks are available on five state jail units: Dominguez, Hutchins, Plane, Gist and Lychner.

In order to take advantage of JOBview, an offender on the above listed units submits an I-60 to the unit librarian requesting a session. When the request is granted, the offender will have the opportunity to access the JOBview database. It is updated one to two times per month and features thousands of jobs both state and nationwide. According to an offender at Gist State Jail, "I will be going home soon and now know what jobs are available. I feel that my chances of finding a job are greater after using JOBview."

The newly released ex-offender has a number of fundamental objectives that he or she will need to meet on the path to productive social re-entry. JOBview 2nd Chance is a way for the offender to accomplish one of the most significant of those objectives before ever leaving the institution. This lowers the risk for recidivism and increases the chance for success. Hopefully, JOBview 2nd Chance will be the only chance an ex-offender needs.

Reprinted from The ECHO.

 

For more information, please go to jobview

 

Other articles that may interest you:

C-Tech connects Windham students with high tech skills, Increases offenders’ opportunities for freeworld jobs - Using interactive instruction, carefully monitored wire cutters, a hand-held testing device and a classroom partner's input, an offender in a Texas prison school cuts and creates his own wire/cable connection and plugs it into a telecommunications simulator. His teacher follows up with a tester, making sure the connection is successful and complete.

Windham School District honors professional counselors - Message from WSD Superintendent Dr. Clint Carpenter: Each year in February we proudly honor The Windham School District’s professional counseling staff, an integral part of correctional education success! All public school counselors provide guidance to students while working with teachers and administrators, but Windham counselors perform their jobs within the challenging environment of the Texas prison system. By promoting the best interests of students, our counselors help transform lives and reduce recidivism.

In Dallas: Habitat for Humanity partners with WSD - Windham School District proudly partners with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, increasing career opportunities for former offenders and providing additional job training for those who return to the Dallas area. While supporting employment in areas such as warehousing and home construction, Habitat for Humanity offers individuals the chance to give back to society and also rebuild their own lives.

Leo Pereida graduates from Texas Tech after 15 years in prison - Pereida earned a bachelor's degree in community and family addiction services from the College of Human Sciences. Saturday morning, he sat in the front row of graduates with nervous anticipation and a smile on his face. He spoke with his fellow graduates often and as his name was read held his head high, knowing that he had accomplished his goal.

WSD receives support from NCCER with efforts to connect trained offenders and employers - Windham School District vocational training programs are certified by the nationally-recognized National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Industrial Certification Verification program. This program is widely recognized in industry as a leading certification endorsement for the construction and manufacturing trades. 

Success Stories

Success Story IconNEW - Tools to change my own life - "What can I say about Autobrakes? I guess I need to start by saying it's one of the best classes I have ever taken!"

Success Story IconNEW - Learning equals possibilities - "Being incarcerated since I was young, I have had my share of trials and struggles. But knowing every morning that I may..."

Success Story IconNEW - I had given up on myself - "I could barely read or write and didn’t even realize I had given up on myself… a great teacher from WSD taught me how to believe in myself..."

Success Story IconNEW - I now have a good job - "My Windham teachers showed patience, effort, and kindness; they were very helpful"

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WSD in Images

Offenders often experience academic success for the first time in a Windham classroom.
Offenders often experience academic success for the first time in a Windham classroom.
Each day WSD correctional educators pass through prison gates across Texas to work with men and women incarcerated within TDCJ.
Students at the Huntsville “Walls” Unit strengthen writing skills during a literacy class.
Texas State Board of Education Chair Barbara Cargill congratulates GED recipients during Spring, 2014, ceremonies. “I am very impressed with the program and with the commitment of the staff and teachers,” she said.
Vocational and academic skills are integrated in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, such as this Small Engine Repair class in Huntsville, Texas.