Graduation highlights success of vocational training program for justice-involved individuals in Long Beach

A key component to reentry for a person who was formerly incarcerated is employment. As a result, governmental, nonprofit, and community service providers that support justice-involved individuals spend a fair amount of the reentry process on teaching individuals how to plan a job search, conduct a job search and retain a job that match an individual’s skills and interest. The Department of Labor has even created a comprehensive website that helps justice-involved individuals assess their skills and work opportunities.

In a unique partnership, GEO Reentry Services partnered with Career Expansions, an Inglewood-based nonprofit to deliver an innovative vocational training program at the Long Beach Community Reentry Program. Career Expansions was founded by individuals involved in community corrections and from the trades field, so it has experience working with justice-involved people. Opened in 2004, the Long Beach Community Reentry Program is funded by the California Department of Corrections Division of Adult Parole Operations and operated by GEO Reentry.

GEO Reentry recently hosted a graduation for individuals on parole who live at the residential reentry center who successfully completed the 30-day Career Expansions vocational training program. This was the first time the Long Beach reentry program offered this in-house training for residents at the center, and 16 graduated, nine of which have found jobs in construction already.

At the event, GEO Reentry staff, family members, community partner agencies, CDCR officials and trainers from Career Expansions were on hand to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates. The event was an opportunity for the participants and their support network to celebrate the successful completion of this unique vocational training program designed to provide gainful employment and stability in the community.

The Long Beach Community Reentry Program offers transitional housing and a number of groups and classes for individuals on parole, including behavioral cognitive treatment, substance abuse education, anger management and stress management, life and parenting skills and more. In addition, the center links program participants to valuable resources in the community, such as housing, health and job readiness programs, to enhance reentry success.