Former Offender Workforce Development
I’ve started doing outreach at the Johnston County Correctional Institution. What I do is hold a month long workshop once a week for prisoners who will soon be released. The workshop entails creating different types of resumes, writing an effective cover letter, reviewing interview and job retention tips. It took a while to setup this program. I started the process this past November, and this Tuesday was my first day conducting the workshop.
My intentions were to work with a class size of about fifteen, but only seven people enrolled for the course. And then four more people chose not to attend before the workshop even began. It’s a little disappointing people decided to opt out before the course even began, but what I’m left with now are people who really want to be there and that will help with the overall productivity in the classroom.
What we worked on Tuesday was resume building. I would like to thank my fellow AmeriCorps friend for providing me with a resume template that people could write their information since my students don’t have access to computers. From there, I was able to critique the information they had filled out and we broke up into teams of two so we could thoroughly go over each others’ resumes and offer our opinions to each other.
After we finished the resume portion of the workshop, I really wanted to hear from them what their main concerns were. I learned what most prisoners fear is how to word how they were in prison and not be immediately discarded. That’s something I’m going to do research on and include in my workshop so I can try to comfort their concerns. We lost track of time and went over the scheduled time, so next time I’ll have to remember to bring a watch.
What is Southern Hospitality?
I love doing outreach; I find it to be a nice change of pace from the craziness of the office. It is during these times that you really get to talk to people on a personal level without multiple others trying to get your attention while the phone is constantly ringing off the hook. Every Tuesday I spend the better half of my day in Micro (population 441-ish) working with job seekers and chatting with the locals. It is here that I am reminded of what southern hospitality is all about, fabulous food, making new friends and being welcomed, even if I am a “Yankee”.
During this time not only do I help the local jobs seekers but I am informed about all the local happenings (gossip) and get fed plates full of delicious home cooked food. In my short time in Micro I have helped one job seeker get a job, helped two people get enrolled in a G.E.D program and learned some fabulous new recipes including honey bun cake and D.O.C wine. For me there is no better way to kick off the work week than with some good old fashioned southern hospitality.