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NIC update.

March 1997 marked the second-year anniversary of the establishment of the Office of Correctional Job Training and Placement (OCJTP) as part of the National Institute of Corrections (NIC). OCJTP was created through the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act 1994 to support job training and placement programs for offenders and ex-offenders.

Early on, OCJTP focused on forging working relationships with various federal agencies that would support offender job training and placement programs. As a result, OCJTP joined forces with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Office of Correctional Education (OCE) to bring information on promising programs to the field through NIJ's Program Focus series of publications. The first in this series highlighted Texas' Project Re-Enterprise. Funded by the State of Texas and conducted by the Crime Prevention Institute, this program brings local employers into Texas prisons to conduct mock job interviews with inmates. In addition, OCJTP, NH and OCE are collaborating to help other jurisdictions replicate the mock job fair aspect of Project Re-Enterpise. Other programs that will be featured in future issues of Program Focus include:

* The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) in New York City, established by the Vera Institute of Justice in the late 1970s, and now an independent organization. It provides employment, job training and job development to men and women released from jail or prison. This program uses work crews extensively as a short-term means of achieving CEO's true mission - placing ex-offenders in permanent, unsubsidized, full-time jobs. CEO is able to place about 70 percent of its participants in full-time positions within two to three months, with most jobs paying more than minimum wage and providing fringe benefits.

* Project Reintegration of Offenders (RIO) began in 1985 as a two-city pilot and has become the most ambitious state government program in the nation devoted to placing parolees in jobs. The program is managed by the Texas Workforce Commission in collaboration with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Institutional Division and Pardons and Paroles Division, and the Windham Independent School District. It offers pre-and post-release services to offenders, including specialized programs to improve parolees' employability. Nearly 16,000 parolees each year are offered job placement services in RIO's 62 offices throughout the state, and approximately 70 percent of them find work.

* The SAFER Foundation, established in 1972, has become the largest community-based service provider for ex-offenders in the United States. SAFER serves clients who are extremely disadvantaged: 100 percent are former offenders, 92 percent are minorities, 70 percent have a history of untreated substance abuse, 75 percent are functionally illiterate and the majority live in poverty. In addition to helping ex-offenders find jobs, SAFER provides numerous services to assist them in their transition back into the community. In 1995, SAFER helped 1,116 clients find jobs. Over the last 25 years, more than 40,000 job placements have been generated.

The OCJTP clearinghouse, contained within the NIC Information Center in Longmont, Colo., provides a user-friendly, centralized resource for practitioners and policy-makers to access information on integrating offenders and ex-offenders into the work force. The OCJTP collection now includes more than 450 documents directly relevant to OCJTP activities. Of special value are training materials and profiles of programs developed by practitioners that can be shared with others in the field. An annotated bibliography listing all OCJTP-related titles held by the NIC Information Center will be published soon. For more information on accessing the OCJTP collection, write or call the NIC Information Center at 1860 Industrial Circle, Suite A, Longmont, CO 80501; 1-800-877-1461; fax (303) 682-0558.

OCJTP held two 36-hour training seminars earlier this year for offender employment specialists. Key topics included identifying typical traits and behaviors of offenders, such as substance abuse; planning for community transition and reintegration; assessing and teaching pre-employment skills and job readiness; identifying potential employers and job opportunities; forming partnerships with community resources and local businesses; and developing strategies for job retention. These seminars may be offered again in FY'98. Future training activities also will include regional train-the-trainer programs, national teleconferences and workshops held in conjunction with national conferences, such as the Correctional Education Association Conference in July, ACA's 127th Congress of Correction in August and the American Probation and Parole Association Institute, also held in August.

In cooperation with the NIC program divisions - jails, prisons, community corrections and the academy - technical assistance is available upon request to address issues related to offender job training and placement. To request assistance for your agency, contact the technical assistance coordinator for the appropriate NIC program division at 1-800-995-6423 (prisons and community corrections), or 1-800-995-6429 (jails and the academy).

OCJTP has developed a network of practitioners in the field of offender job counseling, training, development and/or placement and will continue to build its database. These individuals, agencies and organizations receive the Program Focus publications profiling state-of-the-art programs and offering training announcements and other items of interest.

For more information about the Office of Correctional Job Training and Placement, or to learn how your agency can be included in the OCJTP database, contact John E. Moore at 1-800-995-6423, ext. 147.

John E. Moore is the coordinator for the National Institute of Corrections' Office of Correctional Job Training and Placement in Washington, D.C.
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Title Annotation:National Institute of Corrections' activities
Author:Moore, John E.
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Jun 1, 1997
Previous Article:Probation and police collaboration: promoting public safety.
Next Article:They're in the money.

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