According to a U.S. Department of Labor report, employed ex-offenders are three times less likely to commit another crime than those who don’t have jobs.
In an effort to assist residents with their transition from the Adult Corrections Facility (ACF) into the community, the Hennepin County Library Outreach department has offered over 30 Job Resource Workshops at the ACF since 2008.
The workshops, taught by library staff, promote employment-related library resources available to residents at the ACF and after their release. The main goals of the workshop are to increase awareness of library programs and resources, create a connection to library staff, encourage library use by the residents and their families after release, and support the other reentry and work readiness programming offered at the ACF.
While the workshops primarily focus on career assessment, employment training and job searching, the course also covers self-employment and small business opportunities that residents can do to supplement their regular employment. Many residents who participate are very excited about starting a small business and learn more about local programs and resources that can help them explore their ideas for self-employment.
Over 500 residents have participated in the workshops at the ACF. Based on results from the program evaluations, library staff learned that 53% of the participants used a library during job search before coming to the facility; however after attending the workshop, 97% said they would use a library during a job search after their release. Residents were most interested in the library’s employment resources and programming, job searching strategies, career information, interviewing and résumés.