Different booths set up by different employers at the Southeast Wisconsin Reentry Employment Expo.
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Re-Entry Employment Expo: Helping Former Inmates Secure Jobs

Southeast Wisconsin Re-entry Employment Expo was held in October. The purpose of the Expo is to help reduce redivicism by assisting ex-inmates find jobs.

Southeast Wisconsin Re-entry Employment Expo was held on Tuesday the 2nd of October. The expo took place at the Horizon Center at Gateway Technical College located on 4940 88th Avenue in Kenosha.

The objective of the Expo is to link potential employers in the area with agencies working with ex-offenders trying to re-enter into society.

The Expo gave opportunities to employers who are struggling to get workers in a tight labor market. Through the Expo, they were able to learn more about the re-entry programs available. The employers were also linked to individuals who are ready to work.

A great number of people showed up for the Expo. Horizon Center parking spaces were full. Roughly 150 were in attendance.

Organizations and Programs Available During the Expo

Several support programs were available at the Expo. Racine-Kenosha Vocational Ministry program and the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership-Big Step Organization were in attendance.

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Big Step connects individuals to careers and training in the building trades. The Racine-Kenosha Vocational Ministry program provides:

  • Job training
  • Support services
  • Counseling

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Employment support experts who coordinate for the Kenosha Correctional Center Work-release Program also attended the Expo. The specialists were looking to find more employers who would consider the re-entry program for new employees.

KCC has 123 prisoners. 73 of them are in the work-release program.

LMI Packaging Solutions’ Human Resource Director, Meg King came to the Expo. They are experiencing problems finding employees. According to King, they learned about the re-entry program at KCC when one of their own employees was incarcerated.

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The incarcerated employee continued to work for them while in jail because of the work-release program. The employee continued to work for LMI even after being released from prison.

Giving Opportunities to Ex-offenders

Michael Graveley, a District Attorney, was the organizer of the event. According to Graveley, he was inspired to organize the expo after he learned that a similar re-entry program happened in May at St. Francis.

Despite Graveley being a prosecutor, he feels inmates should be given punishment as well as opportunities by the justice system. According to him, real opportunities should be available to the inmates once they have paid for their crimes.

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Assist the formerly incarcerated to re-enter society by helping them find jobs and acquire stability. This, in turn, helps achieve public safety. It is a win-win scenario.

Different booths set up by different employers at the Southeast Wisconsin Reentry Employment Expo.
The fact that so many people are supporting recently rehabilitated citizens looking to move on with their lives is as inspiring as it is important at spreading the word of the struggles these ex-convicts face after prison. Image Source: Public Policy Institute

The Work-release Program Provides Transportion to Inmates

According to King, one of the biggest advantages of the work-release program is they provide transportation services to inmates under the program. A van, provided by the center, drops off and picks up inmates from work.

King believes in giving individuals a second chance. According to her, someone’s past should not stand in their way of having a bright future.

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Abigael Shem
Abigael Shem has eight years of experience in academic, content, research and creative writing, editing and proofreading. Developing any type of content is now an easy task for her. When she's not writing, she enjoys singing, dancing, hiking, traveling and sports, especially football and basketball. Abigael currently writes news for prison loved ones on Prison Rideshare Network.