Preparing for Employment and Life After Prison
“I feel more positive about myself and now will take what I learned in the financial literacy training, and cover letter/resume course, to prepare for an interview, employment and life outside.” Spokane Residential Reentry Center (SRRC) resident
Pictured Left to Right: Carlos Solorza, director of SRRC I & II; Joseph Parham, SRRC employment specialist
It is always rewarding when clients that we serve comment on our employees dedication and assistance. Recently, two residents at the SRRC praised the workshops offered by Joseph Parham, our employment specialist. He not only assisted them with polishing their resumes and practicing for job interviews; he also assisted them in building their confidence up so they were better prepared for the competitive job market and life back in the community.
Our dedicated staff work hard at helping formerly incarcerated men and women successfully transition back into their communities after incarceration. Through a contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Pioneer Human Services operates all four residential reentry centers across the state of Washington. The community reentry programs serve as a bridge from incarceration to life in the community. Our staff provide residents with an array of services focused on finding and retaining employment, reconnecting with families, overcoming a substance use disorder and other issues, and becoming productive members of society.
Carlos Solorza, director of the two SRRC's stated, “We are very lucky to have Mr. Parham on board to work with our residents in their employment search. Some of the residents we serve have work experience before their incarceration and now have to learn how to navigate the barriers that their record will create, while others have no employment history.” Solorza added, “Mr. Parham is skilled at working with individuals with or without work experience.”
Parham works closely with individuals entering the reentry centers in Spokane as it is required that all residents attain employment or enroll in an education program. Many residents are also participating in recovery/counseling and all are required to complete in-house work details and meet all screening requirements for job placement.
A resident in the reentry center shared with a staff member that he was very impressed with the Roadmap to Success job-readiness training workshops, but more importantly, we was impressed with the facilitator. The resident reported that Parham took the time to work with him and other residents on an individual basis. Even though he already had a resume, Mr. Parham worked with him to improve it and polish up his interview techniques. He went over how to address his incarceration and focus on selling his skill set to the employer. The resident was really appreciative of Parham’s help and felt very grateful that Pioneer provided the service.
Another resident said that despite all his years of engaging in programs, classes and group therapy in prison, nothing compared to what he learned in the Roadmap to Success job-readiness training workshops that Parham taught. The resident shared that, "Mr. Parham works with residents because he really wants them to succeed in the workplace."
“I had a resume before coming to the Spokane Residential Reentry Center, but now I have an incredible resume. Mr. Parham helped me make a resume on steroids…impressive and professional,” the resident shared." He added, “I’m excited to continue working with Mr. Parham in practicing interview techniques as I’m learning that communication skills, and how you present yourself, are as important as what’s written on paper. I feel more positive about myself and now will take what I learned in the financial literacy training, and cover letter/resume course, to prepare for an interview and my new life.”
We wish the SRRC residents much success in their new careers and give thanks to Mr. Parham for his passion and dedication in helping individuals have a chance for change!