Workplus Program Teaches Inmates Job Training and Placement Skills
(Woodbury, NJ) - Seven inmates at the Gloucester County Department of Corrections received certificates today for completing a new job training and job placement program called Workplus. This 10-week voluntary program conducted at the Gloucester County Correctional Facility for inmates who are within 6 months of release teaches job readiness, including resume preparation, how to prepare for an interview, and how to search for a job.
Freeholder Frank J. DiMarco said that the Workplus program is taught by volunteers of the M Mid-Atlantic Career and Education Center and there are no county funds used. The volunteers bring their experience and meet with the inmates once a week for several hours throughout the course of 10 weeks.
"There is a dedicated group of volunteers who not only teach inmates job skills and job search skills, but serve as mentors and offer guidance to them on many levels," stated Freeholder DiMarco. "The goal of the program is to keep people from returning to jail by preparing them with job skills and connecting them to employment and transitional services upon release. There are a lot of people who are dedicated to helping these men turn their lives around including the volunteers and our professional Corrections staff," DiMarco said.
DiMarco said that while only 7 inmates received their 'diplomas' today, 18 inmates had originally started Workplus, but 11 had been releases throughout the duration of the 10 week program.
According to Mr. Glen Donelson, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Career and Education Center, and volunteer for the program, research conducted at the national level indicates that one of the most important factors influencing the inmate to commit repeat offenses is the lack of meaningful employment and financial security which results from being successful in the job market. In fact, it is considered the single most important factor causing a repeat offense. Repeat offenses result in high crime rates, overburdened court systems, and a high population in correctional facilities.
The next 10 week course will be starting at the end of August and will consist of learning basic job skills such as teamwork, problem solving, developing professional attitudes and decision-making on the job. Inmates will also build a resume, develop sound interview skills and learn how to job search. While in the program, inmates will receive mentoring and guidance for expunging their records which will help them find and sustain a job. Upon release, inmates will be connected to jobs and transitional services. Many transitional services exist in Gloucester County such as; drug and alcohol counseling but are often not accessed on a consistent basis by ex-offenders. Ex-offenders will connect to these services through Mid-Atlantic Career and Education Center's support system.
Mr. Charles Sauder, instructor for the Workplus Program stated, "The program connects the pre-release inmate with the Board of Social Services and the Gloucester County One-Stop Career Center. The program has an outstanding record of placing over 60% of the participants in jobs."
For further information about the Workplus program or the Mid-Atlantic Career and Education Center, contact Mr. Glen Donelson at: (856) 540-6200.