There are many challenges felons face…even after release.
Once on the outside, many of them will join the growing number of former inmates struggling to find work and get ahead, but the WV ReFORM Initiative Program is pushing to give them a better plan for their future.
Micah Carter, the KISRA’s Program Manager, explained, “If we can increase the knowledge of or families, and help these men and women when they get back out of incarceration, we can truly see a change in the community. People talk about change and we march about change, but I’d like to say that I think this company, and this opportunity, is a great way for folks to really see change in their lives. They have to be willing to take the first step and initiative, but we are here to make sure that they get the opportunity to do so.”
The program was formed by the Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action, also known as KISRA, to heal and strengthen families.
It offers free classes – and coaching – to teach skills needed in the workforce. Once each phase is completed, KISRA helps find, and keep, job placement for each participant.
“When I have folks that come to me and say they’ve been on 20 interviews, I go to work immediately like wow..20 interviews!? I just really can’t believe someone told you no 20 times. So that really allows myself and my colleagues to push to make sure we get this person the opportunity to work,” Carter told us.
The program’s goal is to not only help with careers, but to provide support for homes, as well.
“This program is about strengthening families. If we can plant this seed in them, parents will pass it on to their children, their children to their children, and that’s how we can change the community. KISRA is just trying to do that one participant at a time,” expressed Carter.