TRADE program strives to aid reentry

TRADE program strives to aid reentry

Phillip Keys is working to turn his life around. Programs offered at each Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) facility strive to help Keys and others like him. Through a Vocational Life Skills (VLS) grant funded by NDCS, the Center for People in Need offers a program called the Tackling Recidivism and Developing Employability (TRADE). TRADE is designed to assist people returning to society from an incarceration facility up to 18 months from release, persons currently incarcerated, and on parole.

Participants attend TRADE programming three days a week for three weeks. “The program starts with ownership and understanding of how their actions affect other people, even those they’ve never met,” said Program Facilitator Kimberly Wimberly. “It provides a catalyst for growth and change.”

Keys said, “It makes you bring out the truth and dig deeper.”

TRADE facilitators Wimberly and Romanjean Kienholz highlighted how as part of TRADE the participants write a turnaround letter. In this letter participants explain their conviction, time served, and what they have done since their arrest to improve their lives and become a successful citizen. In addition to the letter, participants work on interpersonal skills, healthy relationships in and out of the workplace, as well as connecting with community programs that assist with reintegration into society. The program also provides participants with assistance building a resume, writing cover letters, and developing interview skills. Keys said the letter really helped him and the instructors were great.

Incarcerated individuals housed at the Community Corrections Center – Lincoln (CCC-L) who are able to attend classes five days a week at the Center for People in Need have access to these services and others including courses in forklift driving, welding, construction, and computers. They can also get assistance obtaining food and beverage handling permits. Participants receive certificates for the courses completed, which can then be provided to potential employers.

 “I’ve learned quite a few things,” Philip Keys speaks highly of his experience with the TRADE program. “It’s a 360-degree program. It has been excellent.”

Keys is pictured with several of his fellow graduates who completed the most recent TRADE program.