Reducing Recidivism by Aligning Job Training with Employer Demand

Goodwill® to expand re-entry job training program in five urban centers

ROCKVILLE, MD — A Goodwill work training program is demonstrating the value that people transitioning back into society bring to the workforce when provided the right opportunities and supports. The Goodwill Adult Reentry Project, funded through a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, will enroll at least 575 eligible adults in five U.S. cities: Baltimore, MD; Pittsburgh, PA; Roanoke, VA; Tucson, AZ; and St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN.

“This is a highly targeted, evidence-based approach in cities that have significant poverty, crime and low education levels,” said Wendi Copeland, senior vice president of strategy and advancement for Goodwill Industries International. “These cities also have low unemployment rates, which signal a need for an expanded employee pool.”

The tight labor markets of the five selected communities provide an opportunity for employers in need of workers to hire individuals with criminal convictions. The Goodwill Adult Reentry Project will partner with local employers in each city to provide a trained talent pipeline of people with specific job skills needed for in-demand jobs.

Goodwill’s work with people coming out of incarceration demonstrates that when job training is aligned with employer demand and highly customized support services, people with criminal backgrounds can become valued employees. To date, the Adult Reentry grant has served 288 people and as of June 30, 2018, placed 211 people in employment.

“Whether an arrest occurred recently or long ago, individuals with criminal records – and particularly recently individuals who are incarcerated – face serious and complex obstacles to successful reentry,” said Copeland. “The long-term impact of a criminal record prevents many motivated people from obtaining employment, even if they have turned their lives around. This program directly addresses that issue.”

Local Goodwill organizations will analyze their community’s labor market conditions and host employee roundtables to understand workforce needs in relevant in-demand occupations including:

  • Aircraft mechanic and service technician
  • Electrician and electrical equipment assembly
  • Machinist and machine maintenance/repair specialist
  • Retail store manager and sales associate
  • Web designer and server administrator
  • Home healthcare
  • Construction workers and masonry specialists

The selected training programs include apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships along with specific job training and comprehensive support services.

Operated by Goodwill Industries International the investment is funded 92 percent by the U.S. Department of Labor through a $4,500,000 grant and 8 percent by local Goodwill organizations in the amount of $377,275. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request for people with disabilities.

Note to reporters and editors: Goodwill can facilitate interviews with people who have successfully reentered the workforce through the Goodwill Adult Reentry Project.