Gov. Ricketts Applauds Interagency Collaboration on Reentry Workforce Academy
Luke Robson, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1967
Grace Johnson, Labor Department, 402-471-4189
Rosalyn Cotton, Parole Board, 402-471-2156
Dawn-Renee Smith, Corrections, 402-479-5713
LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the Division of Parole Supervision (DPS) within the Nebraska Board of Parole, the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL), and the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) have embarked on a new partnership called the Reentry Workforce Academy (Academy). The Academy offers employment classes for clients on parole supervision and offenders who are currently on or preparing for work release at the Community Corrections Center-Lincoln (CCC-L), a facility within NDCS.
“State agencies are working together to ensure that individuals leaving prison or on parole find a career path that leads to meaningful employment,” said Governor Ricketts. “This collaboration helps our inmates on a path to re-entry find meaning and purpose in their post-incarceration lives, and it helps make our communities safer places to live, work, and raise a family.”
This initiative builds on previous efforts by the Ricketts Administration to provide more programming opportunities to prepare inmates for reentry. Over 90 percent of the individuals who enter prison ultimately complete their sentence and reenter society.
The Academy is a four-week class featuring sessions on finding and keeping employment. Participants learn to address barriers to employment, identify resources to help them become job ready, and complete mock interviews and other exercises before earning a certificate of completion. Although the employment rate for parole clients is already high, the goal of the Reentry Workforce Academy is to help improve upon this strength and help more inmates focus on finding a job as a career.
“Our new partnership with the Department of Labor and Corrections is an important undertaking and one that we hope will assist our parole clients and offenders to better prepare for long-term careers in the community,” said Julie Micek, Director of DPS.
The class meets once per week, and the Academy is offered on a monthly basis. Courses continue to be held each month, with weekly class sizes ranging from two to eight participants.
“More than nine in ten people who are incarcerated in our prisons reenter society,” said Commissioner of Labor John Albin. “This collaborative effort with the Board of Parole and Corrections is intended to help the transition go as smoothly as possible.”
“Obtaining and maintaining meaningful employment is key to anyone’s success,” said NDCS Director Scott Frakes. “It is particularly important to individuals who are transitioning from prison to the community. This program provides another resource to achieve successful reentry, making our communities safer.”
Currently, the sessions are conducted by the NDOL, but there are plans to utilize staff within DPS and NDCS. Due to the structure of the classes, future participants will also be allowed to begin the Academy during any week of the four-week period, and classes will ultimately be structured so that they can be completed in one week. There are also plans to expand to other NDCS facilities.
RICKETTS ADMINISTRATION’S COMMITMENT TO REENTRY PREPARATION THRU PROGRAMMING
- Cornhusker State Industries (CSI) Apprenticeships: CSI is a self-supporting program that offers the opportunity for incarcerated men and women to learn job skills and receive education. CSI uses the revenue generated by sales of products and services to sustain the program’s operational costs as well as invest in buildings, equipment, training, certifications, and other opportunities for reentry success.
- Thinking for a Change (T4C): T4C is an evidence-based, cognitive behavioral change program. It aims to reduce criminal thinking and change inmate behavior, seen in a reduction of recidivism and lowered institutional misconduct.
- Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT): MRT is a 12-step pathway to increasing moral reasoning, enhancing self-image, promoting a positive identity, and reducing returns to prison. Inmates learn to take accountability for their actions and to take control of their lives.
- Substance Abuse/Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): SAMHSA offers six-month residential programs for inmates with substance abuse disorders. These residential programs provide education, recovery, and relapse prevention treatment in conjunction with an additional emphasis on criminal thinking, choices, and behavior patterns. Non-residential treatment services are also available.
- NDCS/DMV Partnership: NDCS partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to ensure that individuals at CCC-L who need a state ID can get one before release. Individuals are also able to renew their ID online from the center. This allows released offenders to go straight to work after their release.