Chautauqua County Jail graduates Ready, Set, Work participants

MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Jail in partnership with the Chautauqua County Office of Probation graduated the first Ready, Set, Work participants at the jail.

Ready, Set, Work (RSW) is a 20-hour intensive program created out of the National Institute of Correction’s Offender Workforce Development trainings by Offender Workforce Development Specialists. It is intended to provide offenders with tools and information to achieve not only employment, but the start to a career. Topics covered in RSW include Career Assessments, Legal Issues and Financial Incentives, Job Applications, Job Interviews, Budget and Spending Planning, Employer Expectations, Barriers and Resources, Job Retention, Job Search, and Using the Local One Stop.

“It really got me wanting to find work and be a better person,” wrote one of the graduates on his program evaluation. “Thank you very much for all the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of the Ready Set Work program.”

This year the Chautauqua County Office of Probation was awarded the 200 percent of Poverty Alternatives to Incarceration grant through the Division of Criminal Justice Services. The project is directed by Senior Probation Officer Philip Evans and Employment and Reentry Facilitator CodyAnne Weise. Officer Evans has been working for the Chautauqua County Office of Probation for over 20 years. Ms. Weise interned at the Chautauqua County Jail while attaining her Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and was hired this year through partnership with The Resource Center. Both Officer Evans and Ms. Weise are Offender Workforce Development Specialists. Together they provide programs to inmates at the Chautauqua County Jail and will soon be offering programs to individuals sentenced to probation in a community setting.

According to the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), the number one way to reduce an individual’s chance of recidivism is employment. Reducing recidivism through increasing employment not only reduces county costs accrued through incarceration, but it also increases public safety, and adds back to the local tax base. In 2011, the NIC released that offenders receiving Offender Workforce Development services have a 33 percent lower risk of recidivism.

For more information on the Ready, Set, Work program, information on hiring an ex-offender, or volunteering to conduct mock interviews, contact Employment and Reentry Facilitator CodyAnne Weise at 224-0539.