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The Transition / Re-Entry SIG Is dedicated to providing support to individuals preparing incarcerated and detained individuals to return to become productive members of their communities . Transitional professionals help prepare Transition Plans with their clients, including preparation for career development, continuing education, housing and participation in community services.  
Windows to Work Program Promotes Self-Sufficiency
Date: December 13, 2016 09:27AM

Windows to Work Program Promotes Self-Sufficiency

Windows to Work is a pre- and post-release program designed to address criminogenic needs that can lead to recidivism, including employment, education, anti-social cognition, anti-social personality, and anti-social companions. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) holds a contract with each of Wisconsin’s 11 Workforce Development Boards to provide, or subcontract to provide, a Windows to Work program at 12 state correctional institutions and 4 county jail facilities throughout the state. The mission of the Windows to Work Program is to promote self-sufficiency for individuals returning to the community through the development of constructive skills and the modification of thought processes related to criminal behavior.

Both individual and group participation begins 3 to 9 months prior to release from DOC incarceration. The Windows to Work Coach provides participants with classroom training in core curriculum content areas, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention, General Work Skills and Expectations, Financial Literacy, Community Resources, Job Seeking, Applications and Resumes. In coordination with the institution social worker and/or community corrections agent, individual release/case planning takes place. Coaches use a variety of assessment tools to assist in determining skill level and career path choices.

During the pre-release phase, county jail programs may function in a different manner due to the transient nature of the population. Many jail programs offer support to participants on an individual basis. This process still requires the utilization of curriculum as defined above, but in a more individualized manner.

In coordination with the Division of Community Corrections agents, coaches assist participants with job search and job retention activities for approximately 12 months after release from incarceration. Participants receive assistance in accessing available community resources to address needs for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and other services. Windows to Work programs sometimes have limited funds to assist participants in addressing barriers to employment, such as transportation, education, identification and work supplies.

One of the goals of Windows to Work is to increase employment placement opportunities for participants. In all, 405 different program participants obtained 546 episodes of employment during FY16. An employment episode is an instance of employment, including temporary placements, On-the-Job Training, Work Experience, Seasonal Employment, and all full- and part-time employment. Further, 71.2% of these employment episodes were in full-time work.

by: Ray Woodruff, Wisconsin DOC Reentry Employment Coordinator

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