R3 TRAINING PROGRAM
Rebuilding Reentrants and Reading (R3) Program
Rebuilding Reentrants and Reading (R3), began on October 2, 2017 and it’s been amazing to see it in action! Following an orientation to meet the staff and instructors that will be working with them, the program participants began their eight week training.
R3, funded by a U.S. Department of Labor Reentry Projects grant, includes evening classroom instruction at Reading Muhlenberg Career & Technology Center (RMCTC), hands-on learning which occurs on site at Habitat for Humanity Berks County (HFHBC) properties and their woodshop, and an employment-focused cognitive curriculum delivered by BCPS staff. R3 Site Supervisors are responsible for transporting program participants to varied educational and work locations, overseeing the work performed and communicating participants’ progress to case managers. Case managers provide job search assistance and work with individuals for one year following their graduation from the training. Participants also have the support of a mentor throughout their participation in the program. This comprehensive training program in the construction trades will allow returning citizens to give back to the community while obtaining marketable skills!
Graduates are experiencing much success – over 80% are stably employed and 96% have not returned to jail or prison!
BCPS is one of 14 recipients nationwide and the only organization in PA to be recently awarded a U.S. Department of Labor Reentry Projects grant. The grant totaling $1,237,737 will be used to fund a comprehensive training program in the construction trades for returning citizens involved in their workforce development programs. BCPS will partner with the Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center (RMCTC), Habitat for Humanity Berks County (HFHBC), PA CareerLink Berks County and the Berks County Workforce Development Board (WDB) to provide the training.
BCPS Reentry Staff
BCPS Receives Federal
Grant for Training
The training program, Rebuilding Reentrants and Reading (R3) will be comprised of 3 parts: evening classroom instruction at RMCTC, hands-on learning which will occur on site at HFHBC properties and an employment-focused cognitive curriculum delivered by BCPS staff. This combination of best practices - classroom learning, hands-on experience, and cognitive interventions - is expected to improve employment outcomes for participants as well as reduce recidivism. “The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections applauds BCPS for its initiative and grant award,” said Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. “The vast majority of all incarcerated individuals will return to their communities one day and successful reentry is paramount. This program will go a long way toward achieving that goal.”
The training program will serve over 150 individuals over the course of 24 months beginning in October 2017. The project outcomes of increasing employability, improving employment rates, and reducing recidivism will be further supported by case management and comprehensive job search and placement assistance. The Berks County Workforce Development Board and PA CareerLink Berks County will assist BCPS in the development of relationships with potential employers in the construction trades. Dan Fogarty, Chief Operating Officer of the Workforce Development Board (WDB) stated, “While assisting Berks County residents who have been incarcerated to better reintegrate into our communities is the right thing to do, we at the Berks County WDB also understand that many of our local construction employers need talented workers now and into the future. In fact, the WDB has identified our local construction industry as a priority area of focus due to current and ongoing projected shortages of skilled workers. This project fits with our efforts to support the construction industry’s progress toward sustainable growth in employment and output.”
BCPS is excited about the opportunity this grant will provide to many individuals with barriers to gainful employment. This training is not only an investment in the success of participants, but is also an investment in our community. It will allow returning citizens to give back to the community while obtaining marketable skills. BCPS and our partners in this initiative are committed to not only rebuilding lives but also rebuilding some of Reading’s most blighted neighborhoods.