“I went to school, got training, and held a job the whole time I was locked up, but ironically – once you’re on the outside – people don’t want to hire someone with that experience on their resumé or with the criminal history box checked YES on an application”. (Jericho Training Center client)
This is true for many individuals re-entering society from our jails and prisons. While locked up, individuals are held back by the literal walls that are the jails and prisons. Upon being released, individuals still face walls, figurative walls, holding them back from success. Their records keep them from being able to gain employment, make a living wage, provide for their families and avoid the vicious cycle of recidivism. So, what’s the solution?
A program aptly named, the Jericho Training Center, which seeks to tear down the walls holding ex-inmates back from succeeding in their families and communities. Jericho, a SHIELDS for Families program, stops the revolving doors of the criminal justice system through providing comprehensive services such as case management, resource linkages, on-site educational opportunities for basic and high school education, computer classes, and most notable is its job readiness, training, mentoring, and placement opportunities.
For example, Jericho offers Construction Skills training in collaboration with Three Cohens Construction, whose co-founder, Andre Jamal Cohen, refers to the course as “light construction”, which covers basic skills such as dry wall, painting, texturing, taping measurements, safety, and floor installation. In fact, the students recently put their skills into practice through installing new carpets in the SHIELDS administration offices, including the office of the CEO and Co-Founder Dr. Kathryn Icenhower.
Jericho Program Manager Joseph Paul insists that the key to making the training center a viable solution for ex-inmates is its ability to offer real world, quality job trainers and connections so that after individuals are well trained, they can be linked to businesses that have committed to hiring our clients for a legit chance to work living wage jobs.
“We are the help. That last line of defense to put individuals in a place to apply skills that helped them survive the streets and prison but now reformulated to be applied constructively and pro-socially.”
For more information about the Jericho Training Center or partnering as a business or mentor, please contact Joseph Paul at [email protected] or # (323) 242 – 5000 x3301.