Trent Griffin-Braaf creates Roadmap to Success to help formerly incarcerated individuals succeed

Roadmap to Success

As a second chance employer Trent Griffin-Braaf goes beyond hiring those with barriers to employment. The Roadmap to Success program he created helps people like himself find success in their work and their personal lives.

After serving seven years of a 12-year sentence for a nonviolent drug offence, Griffin-Braaf had trouble finding work. He finally did secure a part time job cleaning toilets at a Marriott hotel, and through hard work and determination managed to become the hotel’s general manager six years later. And now he wants to offer similar opportunities to other returning citizens.

Griffin-Braaf founded Albany, NY-area based Tech Valley Shuttle in 2016. His company, which provides a variety of transportation services, employees 32 people, 80 percent of whom have been justice-impacted.

Roadmap to Success helps jobseekers and employers alike

In order to help spread the practice of second chance hiring and the opportunities it offers beyond his company, Griffin-Braaf created Roadmap to Success.. The program works on two levels. It provides training and support to formerly incarcerated individuals so they can find employment and be successful. And it provides coaching to businesses so that they will be better prepared to hire employees who have barriers to employment.

The idea for Roadmap to Success came about through a conversation Griffin-Braaf had with other business leaders. “They said that I had had such an amazing job and must have a great talent for training. They asked if I would consider ever teaching others how to do it,” he says. “I had never thought about it but said I would consider it. As someone who was formerly incarcerated himself, I know what it takes to go from an entry level job to being an executive and starting your own business.”

Inspired by that conversation, Griffin-Braaf launched Roadmap to Success last year. “The seed was really part of our company’s intake process, and I was able to build it out and turn it into an actual curriculum,” he says.

He started the program at Schenectady County Jail but moved it to Greene Correctional Facility, the prison he was released from in 2007.

Griffin-Braaf goes to the Greene Correctional Facility once a week to conduct the two-hour classes in person. The program lasts for 12 weeks and uses an extensive written curriculum designed to help participants get back into the workforce. The curriculum covers everything from branding and networking to interviewing and setting goals. The most recent class at Greene included 35 individuals of whom 32 graduated.

 “At completion they get a certificate, and that’s when I’m able to start connecting them with employers and get individuals employment while incarcerated, so they walk out of a jail and into a job. I’m currently working with over 550 employers,” he says.

At its heart, the Roadmap to Success curriculum encourages participants to view themselves as the CEOs of their own lives.

From cleaning toilets to hotel general manager

“My big break came from cleaning toilets at the Marriott part time to becoming the general manager. I teach people how they ca­­­n do the same,” he says.

Griffin-Braaf is currently in the process of expanding Roadmap to Success to those in reentry and others facing employment challenges by creating partnerships with various nonprofit organizations, including the City Mission of Schenectady, which deals with the homeless population.

While Roadmap to Success was designed to help those in reentry succeed in employment and in life, it also works with employers to help them succeed in hiring those with barriers to employment.

To achieve this, Griffin-Braaf conducts half-day coaching sessions with companies. These sessions are the launching point for further services.

Griffin-Braaf offers a variety of services through Roadmap to Success

“We work with HR teams on developing best practices for hiring and will create their job ads, showing them how it starts from the individual finding that ad. We identify jobs that can be done and work with orgs on the tax incentives that are out there so they can take advantage of those opportunities,” he says.

“We find out where their team might need more training. We offer services like  case management to ensure that when someone is hired they’ll be successful. We also work with the HR leaders to see what roles they’re looking to fill and work with them to do that strategically.”

Griffin-Braaf has offered these services to about seven companies since he started doing this eight months ago.

Although now he’s operating in the Albany and central New York region that stretches as far as Syracuse and Rochester, Griffin-Braaf hopes to expand Roadmap to Success nationwide.

He’s currently in talks with CoreCivic to provide the program to its institutions. And he would like to get major corporations involved.

“My goal when I started it was to provide the training for Fortune 500 companies. We’re trying to do more online so we can open it up, and it will become more accessible nationwide,” he says.

“The difference between this program and anything else that exists is that I’ve yet to find anything that’s been created with lived experience. I have a unique lens when it comes to workforce development and what organizations need. And I have the perspective from being the guy who started cleaning toilets. I’m blessed to have had the experiences I’ve had and been able to pass that on to others.”

If you are an employer interested in Griffin-Braaf’s second chance hiring consulting services or an institution that wants to know about workshops designed for people who are incarcerated, you may contact him by email for more information.

For other articles on this topic, click on the hyperlink next to Posted in below:

Posted in Reentry Services and tagged , , , , , , .

Won’t you please join us? $20 will sponsor free one-on-one job search coaching. $30 will help to create more free or low-cost tattoo removal programs. Together we can make a difference. Jails to Jobs, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is staffed by volunteers.
Donate now via Paypal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *