Is your business a good fit for second-chance employment?

No matter the reason someone went to prison, there is still a stigma around justice involved individuals. This stigma makes it harder for people who have been released to find employment to help them restart their lives and build a future. Research shows employment reduces the likelihood of recidivism. If you’re looking to provide a place for second-chance employees, here’s how you can tell if your business is a good fit. 

Three pathways of prison education in Tennessee.

When you’re trying to decide if your business will be a good fit for second-chance employment, think about the types of education courses that are offered to incarcerated persons. In Tennessee, there are three paths from the Department of Education that prisoners can follow. The first is Adult Basic Education, which helps individuals prepare to take a high school equivalency exam through improving their math, social studies, science, reading and writing skills. Through this course, people will have their high school equivalency before being released or be ready to take it soon after.

The second path that individuals can take is through Career Technical Education, which is available for anyone who already has their high school diploma or equivalency. This means that some incarcerated individuals will have the technical skills, training and certifications needed to enter into industry-specific careers upon release — like welding, culinary arts, HVAC repair, carpentry and plumbing, just to name a few. Hope2Hire provides these programs in Shelby County Division of Corrections.

The third pathway those in the justice system can take is post-secondary education, which allows them to take college courses while incarcerated. In the city of Memphis, there are several colleges and universities that are active participants in the program — Rhodes College, Southwest Tennessee Community College and Tennessee College of Applied technology. Whether a student is working toward a certificate, bachelor’s or master’s degree, there are opportunities for advancing studies. 

Decide if your business fits with the prison education model.

While each previously incarcerated individual’s educational needs are different, think about if your area of business aligns with any of the opportunities offered in the criminal justice system. The most common types of second-chance employers are those who are in technical industries. For example, employers in the construction industry might be good fits for second-chance employers. Not only do some people in prison learn carpentry directly, but construction companies also need to have plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians that they can use to help push their projects forward. Other technical career options include computer courses like computer aided design and drafting and computer applications and literacy. Your IT department could potentially be a great space for a second-chance employer. 

Hope2Hire is committed to helping Memphians achieve their employment goals regardless of their backgrounds. In addition to assistance for those who have been released, we are also present in the Shelby County Division on Corrections. If you’re interested in learning more about how your business fits in with second-chance employment, give us a call. We can help you decide if you’re a good match and help match potential employees to you. 

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