Supporting Second Chances: Employment Strategies for Reentry Programs

by Laura E. Johnson; Sheila Maguire; Angelique Jessup

Feb 8, 2013
The Second Chance Act supports a range of reentry programs around the country, designed to help those returning from jail or prison make a successful transition to life on the outside. In 2008, the Annie E. Casey Foundation commissioned Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) to create a resource that would be useful for Second Chance Act grantees as they develop employment strategies, by distilling lessons from research on a range of employment programs. "Supporting Second Chances" offers concrete suggestions for practitioners, based on a review of relevant literature and P/PV's own extensive experience with reentry and workforce development research and programming. The guide explores strategies in three major areas:
      • Services aimed at helping people find immediate employment;
      • Services that provide paid job experiences to participants; and
      • Services that help people gain occupational skills.
For each area, we provide: an overview of the approach, including its history and a brief definition; a high-level summary of the most recent and rigorous research available about the approach; an example of the approach in action; key "takeaways" for Second Chance Act grantees and other programs serving formerly incarcerated individuals; and where to go to learn more. Since the ultimate success of an employment strategy may hinge on a range of additional supports, the guide also features a section called "Beyond Getting a Job," which presents three approaches to help formerly incarcerated individuals get the most out of their paychecks and move into better jobs. The final section synthesizes lessons drawn from across the studies reviewed for the guide.
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