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Fenty Focuses on Inmate Job-Training Program

Fenty at the D.C. Jail.

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty joined Department of Corrections (DOC) director Devon Brown and Department of Employment Services (DOES) acting director Joseph Walsh to launch a new effort to today to help inmates find jobs before they are released.

The Employment Readiness Center, which opened Dec. 1, serves up to 30 inmates a day. It is a joint project between Corrections and DOES meant to assist inmates who are 45 to 60 days away from release. The program is five weeks long and currently officials at the jail are working with their second group of inmates.

"The Employment Readiness Center reflects the District's strong commitment to providing the resources critical to facilitating the re-entry process for inmates on the cusp of release," Fenty said in a statement.

"Being equipped with the skills necessary to apply for and land a job increases the likelihood that these returning residents can become self-sufficient and make positive contributions to the community," the mayor said.

The job-training center is similar to the One -Stop Career Centers operated by DOES in which individuals can be counseled about jobs and careers in the Washington metropolitan area. The inmates can also learn about Interviewing, resume preparation, life skills and computer training.

"The Department of Corrections continues to provide individuals with opportunities to become more constructively oriented while in custody, while at the same time preparing them for their subsequent return to society," Brown said. "This center is a part of our comprehensive reentry services program that begins at intake through release."

Charles Jones, director of the DC Office of Project Empowerment, said, "Our efforts at the DC Jail uplift inmates in a meaningful way by preparing them to work and helping them build a sustainable livelihood when they reenter the community."

Hamil R. Harris

By Hamil Harris  |  February 4, 2009; 3:38 PM ET
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I am all for giving people a second chance and I am well aware that this is one of Mayor Fenty's pet projects getting training and work for inmates. But with the economy the way it is today, in my opinion, training is need for the "average joe" not inmates and NOT paying the youths in the summer jobs program for not working! Mayor Fenty you really need to set new priorities for helping DC get training and jobs. Prince William County has a great program for their inmates,but rumor has it that you would not even consider their program last year.Helping inmates, yes, but help the people in DC that want to work and that are not in jail first and then help the inmates. And maybe check out what is working in Prince William County Jails. Marc, you need to stop being a Mayor Fenty groupie!

Posted by: DCWatcher3 | February 4, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

So true, DCWatcher3, so true. Let's get people who are outside of jail working and one way to do that is to stop the union busting and stop rhee from randomly firing people, voting them off of the island for not agreeing with her. But I digress ...
the mayor should help the constituents who voted for him before got elected and changed who he was and the platform "for the people" he ran for office using.

Posted by: southyrndiva | February 5, 2009 4:52 AM | Report abuse

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