The Dyer County Sheriff’s Department will establish programs and deliver services at the Dyer County Correctional Work Center to establish a specialized American Job Center/TN Career Center to provide basic and individualized career services to a minimum of 25 inmates to facilitate job placement and retention upon release.
The Northwest TN Workforce Board in Local Workforce Development Area 12 has developed a partnership with the Dyer County Sheriff’s Office to establish a “specialized” TN Career Center on the campus of the Dyer County Correctional Work Center (DCCWC). The 30-bed inmate correctional center opened summer of 2015, providing counseling on relapse prevention, drug and alcohol education and socialization to its male population.
A lengthy assessment is given to each inmate prior to be referred from the general population jail facility to the DCCWC, which is a State approved mental health counseling center. The goal of the new Jail2Job program is that by the time inmates are released, they will owe no fines, have a valid driver’s license, be drug free and have a job.
To achieve this goal, Jail2Job will provide each inmate with onsite career services as if he were visiting the local TN Career Center. The proposal includes funding for a part-time Career Advisor and Job Developer and coordination with other partner programs.
The Career Advisor will administer educational and career assessments to determine skill levels and service needs. The local Adult Education will partner to provide instruction to inmates in need of a high school diploma through onsite and/or online delivery. The Northwest TN Workforce Board will grant access to all inmates to the Career Ready 101 coursework which addresses basic skills deficiencies, work ethics and prepares them to sit for the National Career Readiness Certificate exam. The Career Advisor will facilitate the development of a resume for input into Jobs4TN.gov and train inmates on how to use technology to search for jobs. Inmates will be made aware of labor market information to determine in-demand jobs and what knowledge, skills and abilities are required to fulfill jobs. Additional workshops or individual instruction, such as financial literacy, how to get along with coworkers and the boss, computer literacy, etc. will be offered to help remove barriers to employment and job retention. They may also participate in “mock” interviews and learn how to deal with issues surrounding their criminal record.
The Job Developer will work with the LWDA 12 Business Services Coordinators to identify “felon friendly” and other employers who are willing to provide hands-on training for inmates. Information on On-the-job Training and Work Opportunity Tax Credit will be provided to employers and they will be invited to the DCCWC to learn about the program. The Job Developer will work hand in hand with the Career Advisor to determine when a inmate is “job ready” and support the inmate during all work experiences. The Job Developer may serve as a “job coach” to assure the employer is satisfied with job performance and that progress is made. A portion of the money earned by inmates will pay work related expenses and outstanding fines with the remainder saved for “start up fund” when they are released. Follow-up will be conducted for one year after exit for WIOA enrollees to track progress/performance and offer any intervention needed to assure success.
To better prepare inmates to compete for jobs in the community, the Sheriff’s Office will provide matching funds to provide each inmate with the opportunity to complete coursework to become a Certified Production Technician (CPT). The CPT credential includes four (4) Manufacturing Skills Standards Council certifications including Safety, Quality, Manufacturing Processes and Maintenance Awareness which may be converted to 12 hours of community college credit and/or advanced placement in a TN College of Applied Technology. The Certified Logistics program includes both Associate and Technician level credential. Upon release, successful inmates will be eligible for WIOA post-secondary scholarships to earn additional credentials, transitional work experience and/or On-the-Job Training. The Dyer County Sheriff’s Office will also coordinate all security, provide transportation for inmates to pre-release work experience, and provide all facilities and other operational costs.