Many of the 650,000 adults released from American prisons each year find their way to One-Stops or community-based, faith-based and other organizations that provide employment services. Yet relatively few of these organizations specifically target former prisoners. Workforce development practitioners have experience with a wide range of job seekers, but a great number of them are looking for additional guidance about the complexities of connecting formerly incarcerated people to the labor market and helping them stay on the job.
Going to Work with a Criminal Record was developed to help meet this need. It is based on lessons from the Fathers at Work initiative, a three-year, six-site demonstration funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to help young, noncustodial fathers achieve increased employment and earnings, involvement in their childrens lives, and more consistent financial support of their children. The report describes seven fundamental lessons workforce organizations should consider as they help formerly incarcerated people move toward stable employment, along with a more detailed discussion of how program staff can put these lessons into practice. It outlines how to avoid mistakes and how to develop important relationships, including with employers, parole officers and the local child support enforcement agency.