| By Gale Staff |
Building a new life after serving a jail or prison sentence can be viewed as an insurmountable challenge. Ensuring returning citizens have access to programs and services is vital to their success. As noted in ALA Policy Perspectives—Libraries & Reentry: The Importance of Public Spaces, Technologies, and Community to Formerly Incarcerated Patrons, libraries are trusted community-based institutions and well suited to connect the reentry population to the resources they need.
One such program is the Fresh Start @ Your Library at the Long Branch (NJ) Public Library, a reentry program created in 2010 that is still successfully assisting ex-offenders who are motivated to turn their lives around and engage in productive activities. The program has been scaled up with grant funding from a variety of NJ state and federal agencies. To learn more details about the initiative, you can view this PLA on-demand webinar.
Libraries—Where Doors Open to New Opportunities
This April, mark Second Chance Month with help from Gale. Our adult learning resources are created to support libraries in their mission to meet the unique needs of their community members, including the formerly incarcerated. When given the opportunity, there’s no limit to what can be achieved.
Meet Them Where They Are
Gale Presents: Peterson’s Test and Career Prep helps adults master basic reading, writing, and math skills using interactive tutorials and quizzes. These tools help users review foundational concepts in a straightforward format. This is a great place to start for individuals just beginning their reentry after incarceration.
For those who may have missed out on a traditional education, they can explore resources for help with standardized test preparation for high school equivalency, college entrance, career certification exams, and even U.S. citizenship. Additionally, Peterson’s Test and Career Prep can be used to help research and select a career-focused college or trade school and find tuition assistance.
When ready to begin applying for jobs, individuals will find clear-cut information on resumés, cover letters, interviewing, and job networking, including personalized career assessments and resumé-editing software with a full complement of resumé and cover letter templates. These resources can play an integral part in the lives of the formerly incarcerated as they start to begin again.
The Benefits of Having a High School Diploma
Nearly 30 million adults in the U.S. didn’t finish high school, and that puts them at a disadvantage in the job market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, high school graduates earn more money and are less likely to be unemployed. With Gale Presents: Excel Adult High School, formerly incarcerated individuals without a high school diploma can change course and find a pathway to a brighter future. The program is 100 percent online and self-paced—it can be completed in 24 months or less by transferring previously earned high school, GED®, or HiSET® credits. Many students graduate in as little as six months.
Participants in the program will receive ongoing support from success coaches and instructors as well as unlimited one-on-one tutoring. Non-native English speakers can access translation tools in 135 languages to enhance comprehension and help break down barriers to learning. Plus, up to 21 free college credits can be earned through American Council on Education (ACE) courses. This means your library can graduate adults and truly change lives.
Skills Training to Foster New Careers in Tech
Libraries can help equip previously incarcerated patrons reentering the workforce with new business and tech job skills to help prepare them for their future. Gale Presents: Udemy offers users unlimited access to thousands of on-demand video courses across 75 categories in business, technology, and personal development. Courses are continuously updated to keep content fresh.
See how The Last Mile, a program that trains incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people with tech and workplace skills, is using Udemy Business courses to give program participants a leg up in the job market. The partnership has been overwhelmingly successful.
Bring Authentic Learning to Your Community
Learners are taught by world-class instructors, and more than 10,000 courses are led by native speakers in 12 different languages. As the only library resource offering virtual skills training taught by native speakers, your library can now reach a more diverse set of patrons than ever before.
Second Chances Happen @ the Library
Everyday libraries enrich the lives of those they serve. During Second Chance Month, consider the many ways you can help the formerly incarcerated reenter society and start fresh … because everyone deserves a second chance.
Ready to learn more about any of these important resources? Request more information here.