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Improving Job Opportunities (USA)

Roll out ‘second chance’ programmes providing basic education for women (i.e. literacy and numeracy skills), including classes for women in prison or in shelters.

Women convicted of crimes have a difficult time finding employment after being released from prison. Employment increases the chances of a successful transition into the community post-incarceration. In Northeastern Connecticut in the US, women transitioning out of incarceration are further hampered by their rural location.

SI Willimantic supported incarcerated women to seek and secure work-release employment. Funds were used to provide travel from prison to the workplace, for obtaining needed work identification documents and for purchasing work attire for participants. Club members helped participants fill out job applications, write cover letters and resumes and helped them obtain work attire. They also provided a graduation ceremony for participants upon completion of the program.

The club set out to: 1) increase opportunities for women living in a Department of Corrections work-release halfway house to seek, obtain and maintain legal employment, 2) increase access to required documentation, transportation and safety measures needed to obtain and travel safely to and from work, and 3) increase the emotional support provided to these women, to heighten self-esteem and self-confidence.

The found that, after the project, there was a 95% employment rate for residents (measured a few weeks after beginning project), while 45% of the women obtained the identification necessary to seek employment.  69% of the women were provided with transportation to and from work (100% of those beyond a 2-mile radius), and 100% women were provided with safety whistles as an added protection in getting to and from work.

Halfway House Director shared:

The program has positively impacted all of the residents of the Next Step Cottage.”

Club: SI Willimantic, PFR: 30566

SoroptiTips:

  • This project really shows how providing disenfranchised women with just a few simple tools can help them to overcome previously insurmountable barriers.  The 95% employment rate is an astounding success.
  • Safety is critical for women – as we know from other sections of this report, violence against women and girls is a primary barrier in achieving in education, employment, and leadership.  By recognising that this is a major factor preventing these women from securing stable employment and providing them with safety whistles, this club has shown fantastic foresight and planning.
  • Transportation so often arises as a barrier for women – in health, education, and, as we see here, employment.  It is amazing the positive outcomes that can be realised by simply providing secure and reliable transportation.

 

 

 

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