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NIC trains offender employment specialists.

The Office of Correctional Job Training and Placement (OCJTP) was created within the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) in 1995. Since 1996, NIC has offered five sessions of a 36-hour seminar for offender employment specialists to enhance their skills in assisting offenders in job skills training, job development and job placement services. The seminars focus on issues related to preparing offenders to locate and retain jobs and feature strategies for working with employers in the community to develop jobs and overcome their reluctance to hire ex-offenders. This competency-based program, which has trained approximately 150 individuals, has become one of NIC's most-sought-after seminars.

The Training for Offender Employment Specialists seminar is being conducted this month and will be offered again in February and May 1999 at the NIC Academy in Longmont, Colo. It also will be presented twice in selected jurisdictions through NIC's partnership program. To promote collaboration between public and private organizations, preference for admission into the seminars will be given to teams of two persons - one representative of a public corrections agency (e.g., probation, parole, jail, pre-release, prison) and one from the private sector - who work together to prepare offenders for employment and place them in jobs. (NIC pays travel, lodging and meal costs for participants in the Longmont seminars but not the locally presented seminars.)

Applications for the February session will be accepted until Nov. 9, 1998, and for the May session until Feb. 16, 1999. Agencies interested in hosting one of the two partnership seminars must indicate their interest to the NIC Academy by Dec. 1, 1998.

During 1999, OCJTP also will sponsor a national forum in Longmont for approximately 40 administrators of offender job training and placement programs. Participants will explore critical issues that affect current and potential services, share strategies they have found successful and work as a group to solve challenges many encounter in their work. One goal of the forum is to begin developing a national network of these program administrators to promote the use of the most successful strategies in managing and operating offender job training and placement services.

Other ongoing OCJTP activities include:

* Working with the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee to develop a curriculum for offender vocational counselors, planned for presentation at the NIC Academy in fiscal year 2000;

* Funding a review of the literature on offender job retention. This project may serve as the foundation for subsequent research on job retention strategies that would enhance an offender's chances of making a successful reintegration into the community; and

* Maintaining a national database of more than 1,300 professionals who provide job training and placement services and programs for offenders. Agencies included receive periodic mailings of publications and announcements from OCJTP.

Related NIC activities include:

* Continued expansion of the NIC Information Center's 1997 annotated bibliography of more than 300 documents relevant to offender job training and employment. The Information Center will make a supplement available later this year.

* Ongoing sponsorship, along with the National Institute of Justice and the Department of Education, Office of Correctional Education, of research, development, publication and dissemination of Program Focus documents. These booklets profile promising projects, programs, systems and/or processes designed to increase the likelihood of offenders becoming gainfully employed and that have the potential for national replication.

For more information on how your agency can be included in the database, how to obtain copies of the Program Focus publications, or how to apply to attend or host the offender employment specialist training, contact John Moore at 1-800-995-6423, ext. 147, or e-mail: jmoore@bop.gov. A copy of the NIC Service Plan for Fiscal Year 1999, which includes application requirements and forms, or the OCJTP bibliography can be obtained from the NIC Information Center (1-800-877-1461) or downloaded from its Web site: www.nicic.org.

John E. Moore is administrator of NIC's Office of Correctional Job Training and Placement in Washington, D.C.
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Title Annotation:National Institute of Correction
Author:Moore, John E.
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Oct 1, 1998
Words:648
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