Jails to Jobs offers its job search book free to prison and jail schools and reentry programs nationwide

Over the past two years, Jails to Jobs has given a free copy of its book, Jails to Jobs: Seven Steps to Becoming Employed, to every jail library in California and to many libraries in prisons and jails across the country. And now it wants to offer a free copy to any prison or jail school or associated reentry program in the country that requests one.

According to many people we’ve heard from and reviews on Amazon, the book is a very helpful resource for those preparing to reenter society or who have already done so.

Jeff Riddick, a teacher at a California correctional facility, is one of those who finds it a good tool. In fact, he told us that when his prison first received the book, he read it every day and still uses it as his main job search reference. And that’s pretty impressive, considering the fact that he began teaching job search skills classes in the 1980s.

“There’s a lot of very useful information that, if applied, can lead you to success. I read it for a while every day. I’d pick a page and read it,” he says. “I keep it with me in the portfolio I carry around all day, and when a guy asks me a question, I pull it out.”

And why does Riddick like it? “It has a lot of positive up-to-date info, as much as a book can have. It’s small, condensed, and not intimidating. It’s a good primer and a good thing to go back to use as a reference,” he says. “The chapters are highlighted which makes it easy to find things. A higher functioning guy, who reads at an 8th or 9th grade level, can get a lot of use out of it. And others as well, with the simplicity of the boxes and the info in the appendices.”

“Every page provides some kind of tip that anyone can use. And to me that’s the most important thing.”

Who can get a free book and how they can get it

Because he has found our book so useful, we’ve decided to expand our giveaway program to more people like Riddick. These people can be teachers at schools within jails and prisons that include job search in their curriculum or plan to, or associated reentry service coordinators like Ken Bailor with Riverside (Calif.) ReEntry Services. They can also be librarians.

If you’re a prison or jail school teacher or reentry counselor offering job search curriculum and coaching, or plan to, or a jail or prison librarian anywhere in the U.S., feel free to contact us for a complimentary copy of Jails to Jobs: Seven Steps to Becoming Employed. We’ll also include a free PowerPoint presentation that will allow you to offer workshops based on the book.

We hope to place a complimentary copy of the book and PowerPoint presentation into as many jail and prison schools, reentry programs, and lending libraries as possible. And with 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons and 3,163 local jails, we clearly have our work cut out for us.

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

New Beginners Job Search Handbook offers unique tips to ex-offender job seekers

New Beginnings Job Search Handbook

Ken Bailor

Think you’ve heard it all when it comes to job search tips for previously incarcerated job seekers?

We did too, but we learned a few new things from Ken Bailor, the reentry services coordinator for Riverside County (Calif.) ReEntry Services, part of the county’s economic development agency.

During the past 11 years, he has presented job search workshops to more than 25,000 people incarcerated at four of Riverside County’s five correctional facilities.

Bailor calls his students “new beginners,” who by his definition seek to put the past – along with attitudes, actions and negative behavior that led to their incarceration – far behind them, so they can achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual success in life.

And to educate them, Bailor developed the New Beginners Job Search Handbook. It offers a step-by-step process that can lead to a new beginning in the lives of those in reentry, as well as a few unique ideas.

Along with resume writing and interview tips, the handbook offers tips on how to improve one’s attitude and approach to life, as well as ability to look for work.

Talking positively

He includes a chart on how to reframe what people need to say to make it positive.

  • For example, instead of this:

“I just got out of jail and need a job.”

  • Tell the hiring manager:

“Jail was a wake-up call for me. I learned new things about myself and my life. I completed my GED and developed new skills. I’m ready to prove that I can be a productive employee.”

Because what people say and how they say it is so important, the handbook includes a vocabulary list for successful New Beginners. It recommends using green flag words like “I can” instead of red flag words like “I can’t.” “I take action” instead of “I should.” “And” instead of “but,” etc.

Understanding the impression you might make

One section of the handbook analyzes what an employer would think about certain behavior or actions when completing a job application, creating a resume or during a job interview that will help students become more aware of how they might come across.

Putting together a personal commercial

Bailor divides jobs into four families – those concerned with ideas, things, people and data – and includes an extensive list of words defining personal assets related to those types of jobs. Using those assets and words for skills chosen from another list, job seekers can put together what he calls a personal commercial and what others might refer to as an elevator pitch.

Also included are a practice application and resume worksheet and examples of different types of resumes and cover letters, as well as advice on where to look for jobs and a job fair attendance checklist. In addition, there’s a list of interview questions, how to explain a felony conviction and information about expungement, certificates of rehabilitation and pardons.

How the handbook is used

Although the book is a self-teaching tool, Bailor and three volunteers take it into the facilities and do a basic introduction. The inmates go through all the exercises, and when they’re finished contact Bailor who asks them an interview question and administers an open-book test. A week later he returns for a closed book final and those who pass receive a certificate.

When they’re about to be released Bailor tells them, ”If you go after those jobs the same way you went after drugs, you’ll be successful. And when you get out, do three things – call your ride, talk to probation and call me.” Only about 10% of the people who leave actually call him, but for those that do he has some solid advice.

He tells his New Beginners:

  • Look forward not back to the troubles you’ve had.
  • Stay positive and find resources. Be proactive.
  • Don’t rely on the jobs that are on the Internet. Visit employers. Tell them about yourself and drop off a resume or JIST card. If you don’t hear back from them in a week, call again. Eventually someone will hire you.
  • Go out and talk to people. Some of the best jobs you’ll find out about are through people in your AA and NA meetings.
  • Stay away from the old places and things, and find new beginnings.

You may view the latest edition of the New Beginners Job Search Handbook, which is included as a resource on Ken Bailor’s Jerry Jobseeker’s Resources website.