Each year, nearly 700,000 individuals are released from prison with only 30% of that number being able to secure work within one year.
Re-entry into society after imprisonment is often followed by recidivism, the tendency of a convicted person to re-offend, and data shows that roughly 60% of people return to prison within nine years of getting out. To change this statistic, it is important to learn how to overcome the barriers society and employers sometimes pose when our neighbors are looking to re-enter the workforce.
Here at StepUp Wilmington, we work to break these barriers. Our programs acknowledge four steps that those with a background can use when looking to get back to work:
- Be honest about your past
- Explain the lesson you learned
- Identify the changes you’ve made to your life and your circumstances
- Share your plans for the future
Employers respect honesty and integrity — tell them about your past before they find out for themselves. By taking accountability for your actions and sharing the changes you have made to avoid an unhealthy pattern, it shows that you are willing to learn and dedicated to reaching your full potential.
One StepUp Wilmington graduate who overcame this barrier is Ivey, who came to the organization after having trouble securing work due to his background.
“I was left with a scarlet letter “F” — a felon. I couldn’t get decent jobs. I lost jobs because I lied about having that letter. That affected my family greatly… How can you take care of a family on 7.25 an hour?”
Following his participation in the programs, Ivey shared, “Yeah, they teach you skills, but the biggest thing they do is help restore lives. They build you up — your confidence, your esteem, and your self-worth.” He is now an employee of the Wilmington Airport and working daily to be his best self.
Your story can change just like Ivey’s did. Give us a call at (910) 343-8469 to get started.