The Academy for Career Development is an education, training and employment program for adults with histories of incarceration who have personal goals for avoiding recidivism and becoming economically self-sufficient citizens.
The core purposes are establishing a sense of status and esteem through enrollment, a sense of belonging and connection to others, experiencing acceptance through a group process and goal-setting as well as achievement. The entire process is rooted in cognitive behavioral techniques and will be done in a faith-based, supportive environment. The end goal is for each returning neighbor to find the life God has always intended for them.
"Stable employment is critical to a successful transition into the community, but reentering individuals often encounter significant barriers in finding employment upon release from prisons and jails, including low levels of education, limited vocational (or marketable) skills and limited work experience.
Reentry programs have demonstrated the overwhelming need for employment opportunities for people released from prison and jail, and the need to facilitate the creation of job opportunities for this population." CSG Justice Center.(https://csgjusticecenter.org/reentry/issue-areas/employment/
MAIC, Mobile Area Interfaith Conference, has been selected as one of nine organizations nationally to receive a U. S. Department of Justice grant for funding services and activities designed to secure employment for individuals being released from the Mobile County Metro Jail or subsequent correctional facility. Announced in October 2020, the $897,260 grant is for a three-year project that will be implemented in 2021.
Known as a CAREERRS (Correctional Adult Reentry Education, Employment and Recidivism Reduction Strategies) grant, the local project includes in addition to MAIC and Metro Jail, collaboration with Ransom Ministries, Goodwill of the Gulf Coast, Bishop State Community College for building a pro-active network to achieve these objectives. Key businesses and economic development organizations will be included in a network and program design based on employment needs for the Mobile area.
Securing this grant was made possible by an existing partnership between MAIC and Mobile County Metro Jail. MAIC has served in in the jail since 2002, providing inmate chaplaincy activities that include facilitating the faith community’s access for ministries and for educational programming with GED classes provided by Goodwill of the Gulf Coast. Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran and Warden Trey Oliver have encouraged MAIC to expand reentry efforts as a strategy for reducing recidivism, or the rate of reincarceration.
The community based MAIC Neighbor Center reentry office was established in 2016 for providing case management and advocacy for former inmates, or returning neighbors, seeking transitional assistance that can address housing, health care, transportation and other basic needs. In 2020, The Academy for Career Development was launched as a new program for providing job-readiness, education, job training and supportive employment services. The CAREERRS project will be incorporated as the primary focus of The Academy.
“This is a new day for reentry goals and services in our community,” stated Troy Ephraim, president of the MAIC board of directors. “It is the vision and determined efforts of many servant leaders over several years that has provided this opportunity. It is a testament to the resilience and value of the faith-community in service to others. We remain committed to serving our neighbors in their struggle to find redemption and a better life.”
Final plans for implementing this new initiative will be developed by spring 2021 with implementation occurring mid-year. An expanded network of community partners and collaborators will be encouraged and available to all organizations and individuals interested in this project.
For assistance, please call 251-308-8725