Goodwill Industries of Arkansas expands re-entry services to 11 communities statewide

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 2,684 views 

Goodwill Industries of Arkansas (GIA) re-entry services has now expanded to 17 locations across the state, including an additional 11 since December 2021. This expansion has had a significant local and state impact by creating opportunities to prepare more Arkansans for employment and to reduce recidivism.

“Goodwill Industries of Arkansas is committed to improving educational and employment opportunities across the state. One way we are doing this is by providing training and services to individuals re-entering society after incarceration,” said Goodwill Industries of Arkansas President and CEO Brian Marsh. “Our Transitional Employment Opportunity program has proven to significantly reduce recidivism and provide a pathway towards success.”

Formerly incarcerated individuals face numerous barriers upon re-entry to their communities. Goodwill Industries of Arkansas instituted a re-entry program in 2009 to provide job and life skills training to men and women re-entering the community after incarceration. Re-entry staff supports clients to reduce recidivism and promote public safety through job readiness training, job leads, job search and resume assistance, interview preparation, mock interviews and job retention.

In GIA’s last fiscal year, the Transitional Employment Opportunity (TEO) program graduated 42 individuals from the 16-week curriculum training. In the first eight months of fiscal year 2023, the TEO program has already graduated 78.

The recidivism rate of GIA’s program maintains at less than 6%, compared to the Arkansas average of 50.6% of those who will return to prison after being released.

In October 2022, GIA’s TEO program received the Second Chance Act Community-based Re-entry Program Grant by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs and Bureau of Justice Assistance to support the non-profit. One of 22 organizations across the United States to be awarded the grant and the only one in Arkansas, the grant will total $749,973 over the three-year term. This grant will help GIA’s TEO program serve an estimated 900 clients.

TEO clients also benefit from this grant in the form of scholarships to The Academy at Goodwill where they can receive training and certifications in welding, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and carpentry.

The new cities offering reentry services:

Batesville
Bryant
Conway (Oak St.)
Conway (Sanders Rd.)
El Dorado
Hot Springs
Jacksonville
Little Rock (Markham Park Dr.)
Paragould
Rogers (N. Dixieland Rd.)
Rogers (S. Dixieland Rd.)