It's no secret finding a job after serving time in prison can be challenging. Formerly incarcerated individuals face significantly more barriers to employment than do job seekers without a criminal background. With this reality, CoreCivic facilities team up with colleges and universities to provide justice-involved individuals higher education training to increase their chances of securing gainful employment post-release.
CoreCivic's Boston Avenue, a residential reentry center in San Diego, California, that supports individuals who are in between prison and reentry, is one example of a CoreCivic facility forging higher education partnerships to help returning citizens. Boston Avenue has teamed up with Coastline College and Career Expansion, Inc. to provide a training program in workforce development, construction, utilities, energy, and safety.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 60 percent of formerly incarcerated people struggle with unemployment. At the same time, the post-pandemic construction industry is struggling to find enough employees to meet demand. Associated Builders and Contractors reports the industry needs to recruit 546,000 more workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2023 to meet demand.
The Career Expansion Construction Training program at Boston Avenue provides students the skills and certifications necessary to secure a job in construction. The program has also partnered with trade unions and local companies to help ensure students can build a career with some of the top names in the industry. The ultimate goal of this program is to provide a solid career path that students can be proud of.
Students learn everything from basic industry awareness to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements in this five-week, on-site program. They also learn how to properly use hand and power tools, and how to safely handle construction materials. When students near the end of the course, instructors even help them build a resume and teach them how to interview for a job. Upon completion, students receive an industry-recognized certificate.
Ten students at Boston Avenue have graduated from the program in 2023, with four more students expected to graduate at the end of October 2023. Upon graduation, these students can look forward to gainful employment and sustainable careers.