Prison to Work
For returning citizens, finding gainful employment can be a huge hurdle on the path back into society. If returning citizens are to fully re-integrate into society, it is vital that they have the job skills and opportunities they need to find gainful employment.
Reaching Out from Within is beginning to work on helping prison residents gain job skills and opportunities for employment. ROFW Executive Director Jim Echols has had meetings with Margie Phelps in the Department of Corrections, Department of Corrections Secretary Jeff Zmuda, and Secretary of Commerce/Lieutenant Governor David Toland to discuss ways in which we can get prison residents and returning citizens job skills and job opportunities.
Additionally, ROFW has held meetings with Andrew Weisberg, from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, to work on how we can encourage private sector businesses to be more receptive to accepting applications from returning citizens, training returning citizens in job skills, and accepting them for long-term employment. Weisberg also attended ROFW’s Symposium event and spoke on the panel about workforce development. You can watch this panel, here.
One company that is already contributing positively to the prison to work re-entry solution is Zephyr Products, Inc., which is run by Cheryl and Randy Reinhardt. Zephyr works behind the walls to employ prison residents and help them develop the workforce skills they need to re-enter society. Additionally, Zephyr has been open to receiving applications and long-term employment on the outside for returning citizens.