In recognition of National Reentry Week, Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order April 26 to better support the successful transition of people leaving prison and returning to their communities. Those with criminal records often have trouble getting jobs, housing and higher education.
“One of the most significant public safety investments we can make to improve the lives of individuals and the safety of our communities is to do more to prepare people leaving our criminal justice system for a successful re-entry to society,” Inslee said.
Advancing the Governor’s reentry priority is the DSHS Rehabilitation Administration’s (RA) program launch of My Journey Out Beyond (MyJOB). MyJOB is a new program providing young people with an employment plan and the necessary skills and training needed to be self-sufficient and crime-free when they return to their communities. The program is a partnership between DSHS, the Workforce Development Councils; Pacific Mountain and Seattle-King, Chehalis School District, Naselle-Grays River Valley School District, Issaquah School District and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
“Many of these young adults have never been given a first chance, let alone a second one,” said Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council CEO Cheryl Fambles.
“They are an important resource and deserve the opportunity,” added Seattle-King Workforce Development Council CEO Marlena Sessions.
As soon as they enter the system, MyJOB staff will evaluate each juvenile to determine their workforce readiness needs and put together an employment plan in coordination with a Reentry Planning Team. This team will include the youth, counselor, family members and school staff. The team will discuss goals for the future and school plans upon reentering the community. MyJOB will offer a work-based curriculum in the classroom and learning opportunities tied to labor market demands. The youth will have access to internships, pre-apprenticeships, job shadowing and on-the-job training. Juveniles will have personalized work experience programs based on their identified skills and areas of interest.
“The cycle of incarceration makes it difficult for even the most well-intentioned youth to stay on the right path and stay out of the criminal justice system,” said Rehabilitation Administration Assistant Secretary John Clayton. “We believe MyJOB is a crucial first step towards breaking that cycle.”
The state’s three juvenile facilities will begin preparing to implement MyJOB May 1. The program will officially launch at Green Hill School in Chehalis and Naselle Youth Camp in Pacific County July 1, and at Echo Glen Children’s Center in Snoqualmie January 2, 2017. MyJOB program will continue this work by connecting with local community offices and the workforce system.