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North Carolina

James B. Hunt Jr., Governor           Theodis Beck, Secretary

December 1, 2000
Contact:  Tracy Little
              Director of Public Information
              (919) 716-3700

Pilot Project Teaches Inmates Job Seeking Skills

JobStart, a pilot project designed to prepare inmates to secure and retain gainful employment once released, has been implemented at Sandhills Youth Center in McCain, Morrison Youth Institution in Hoffman, Polk Youth Institution in Butner and Western Youth Institution in Morganton. Raleigh Correctional Center for Women will soon be included as one of the pilot sites.

"The project is designed to help offenders market themselves and to know what to do to overcome the barriers they may face when they make the transition from prison to the community," said J.P. Smith Sr., assistant superintendent at Sandhills Youth Center.

Members of JobStart project teams at each of the facilities started implementing specific actions and program activities among selected inmates in September to enhance their skill building competencies, resume development and community transition planning. The first group of inmates is expected to complete the program in December. Another group of inmates will begin the project in January and is expected to complete it in May.

"Staff not only focus on job preparation for the offender, but also job readiness," said Arthur Clark of the Division of Prisons educational services. "Some of the participants do not have Social Security cards and without that they will not be able to get a job. We make sure the offenders get a Social Security card."

Staff have also contacted various agencies, which includes business and industrial sector representatives, vocational rehabilitation units, Job Link career centers, Welfare-To-Work agencies and the Division of Community Corrections about being partners in the project. "It is a team effort to make sure the offenders are made aware of every service available to help them become productive, taxpaying citizens when they are released from prison," said Clark.


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