DALLAS, Texas – Time served in prison is hard to overcome, especially when a former inmate begins searching for meaningful employment. At Volunteers of America Texas, however, there is a firm belief in second chances and a program that makes them possible — the VOA Texas Dallas Re-Entry Career Pathways Program.
Thanks to a $25,000 grant provided by the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation for program support and financial coaching for individuals re-entering the community, the Pathways program will be given a boost over the coming year.
“We appreciate the King Foundation’s support for second chances,” said Angela King, VOA Texas President and Chief Executive Officer, no relation to the King Foundation. “Once a person has completed their sentence and is released, the task of obtaining a job and living a normal life is challenging because of the stigma of incarceration. Our re-entry program addresses real barriers faced by this population that many times led them down the path to incarceration, such as lack of job skills, education, or vocational opportunities.”
“I’m proud to say the program works,” she added. “To date, 100 percent of our participants have individualized employment plans to track financial, personal, and professional goals, plus they create functional resumes within the first 48 hours of enrolling. About half are gainfully employed within a year. Best of all, the recidivism rate for current Pathways participants is only 3.2 percent, compared to the national average of 30 to 50 percent at one year after release.”
King added that the grant is an example of the importance of private philanthropic organizations to the success of these programs. “Nonprofits like VOA Texas rely on multiple funding sources to deliver on our mission,” King said. “The Pathways Program is a partnership between VOA Texas and the City of Dallas. However, neither we nor the city have the resources to meet all the needs within our community. This grant will play a pivotal role in providing additional services and support for the clients and subsequently our success over the coming year.”
The Pathways Program has been in place for two years and annually serves 170 either formerly incarcerated or soon to be released men and women. The program provides numerous services, including assessment and case management, financial and employment services, vocational training, and educational assistance. VOA Texas maintains relationships with Dallas College, Workforce Solutions and Texas Workforce, who provide job-readiness courses and specific job training in areas with vocational opportunities.
The comprehensive program, in its second year of existence, is designed to assist whether the individual is nearing a release date or has completed their sentence at any time in the past five years.
Those needing more information about the program may contact Taylor Galvan, Dallas Pathways Employment Specialist, at (972) 795-2437 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Volunteers of America Texas
Volunteers of America Texas is a faith-based organization that empowers individuals and families to overcome obstacles to reach their full potential and thrive. The ministry of service strengthens communities through an array of services including substance abuse treatment and prevention, affordable housing, community re-entry, employment training and disabilities services. With locations in more than 30 urban and rural communities, Volunteers of America Texas has been helping those who need the most help for more than 100 years. For information, visit www.voatx.org.
For more media inquiries, please contact:
Ericka English, VOA Texas Sr. Director of Communications
(817) 529 – 7363