NDCS Staff Members Participate In Workforce Train-The-Trainer Program

NDCS Staff Members Participate In Workforce Train-The-Trainer Program


CONTACT Cara Wilwerding, Communications Manager

OFFICE 402-479-5712 | cara.wilwerding@nebraska.gov

May 2, 2017 (Lincoln, Neb.) – The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services’ (NDCS) reentry program is making big strides to help individuals find jobs after incarceration.

Twenty NDCS employees recently attended the Workforce Train-the-Trainer program, a partnership with the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL). The employees – ranging from corporals to teachers to case workers to reentry specialists – learned how to assist individuals with navigating the work world and using computers to write resumes and apply for jobs.

“In my eyes, I see it as a way to get individuals set up to go out and interview as soon as they’re released or paroled,” said Adam Hess, training attendee and Case Manager at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women (NCCW) in York, Neb. “That way they don’t have to scramble to find a job when they get out and go back to their old ways of making money. It’s a way to prepare them to reenter society on the right track.”

The first day of class focused on assessing individuals’ abilities and strengths. Reentry Administrator Grace Sankey-Berman said NDCS will implement training bit by bit, beginning with skills assessments.

“If people find jobs that suit their skills and personalities, they will do better,” she said. “It empowers them to be more confident when they step out the door about what they want to do and how to go about finding it.”

Hess plans to begin applying his training at NCCW as soon as possible. He said he’d like to hold training sessions for other employees on his days off, in addition to helping incarcerated individuals start their job hunts. The women at NCCW have supervised access to 10 laptops, which they can use to apply for jobs at Lincolnjobs.com, Monster.com and McDonalds Careers, among other websites.

Hess believes employing this programming in partnership with NDOL has potential to reduce recidivism rates and increase individuals’ success rates upon release. NDCS Mission: Keep people safe. NDCS Vision: Safe Prisons – Transformed Lives – Safe Communities NDCS Values: Integrity – Respect – Compassion – Growth – Excellence

“Just put yourself in their shoes – you get released and need money and can’t necessarily spend a month or two applying for jobs,” he said. “This way, they can be set up when they’re released and just get started on the right track immediately.”

Relearning how to use a computer, or learning how to use one for the first time, may present a challenge for some – a challenge which trained employees and reentry ambassadors will address on a case-by-case basis.

“When you’ve been in prison for a long time, you’ve been cut off from the rest of the world and getting back out there is scary,” Sankey-Berman said. “Anything that will make that transition easier is always welcome.”