SPRINGFIELD — As Mike Durfee State Bastille inmates, Chad Elkins and Lucas Thoelke apperceive they’ll be attractive for a job afterwards their release.
But Monday, the administration and jobs came attractive for them.
Around 325 inmates met with 15 administration at the medium-security prison’s job fair, according to MDSP workforce development adviser Monica Wepking.
“This is allotment of a pilot affairs aimed at abbreviation recidivism,” she said, apropos to the amount of inmates who acknowledgment to the prison.
The inmates were demography advantage of the job opportunities and their new activity afterwards prison.
Thoelke affairs to acknowledgment to his hometown of Sioux Falls afterwards his release.
“I accept a abutment arrangement and ancestors aback there,” he said. “I do accept some ancestors in Arizona, but I anticipate it’s easier to break actuality and get a job in welding.”
On the added hand, Elkins doesn’t plan to acknowledgment to Rapid City. Instead, he and his wife plan to abide in Yankton.
“I appetite a new environment,” he said. “I appetite a acceptable job that pays able-bodied and a career account pursuing.”
Both men accept completed the MDSP adjustment program. Thoelke has accustomed American Adjustment Association (AWS) certification, while Elkins can accept the acceptance anon afterwards his release.
The two inmates bidding optimism about their job affairs afterwards accessory Monday’s career fair. They were handed applications, and the starting alternate accomplishment ran in the $18-21 range.
“They (employers) greeted us with accessible arms,” Elkins said of the agog acceptable provided by the job fair participants.
Monday’s job fair apparent the additional such accident for the prison. MDSP hosted its antecedent fair aftermost April, and its success led to Monday’s event.
Thoelke acclaimed this job fair has appear afterpiece to his absolution date, abacus to its accent for his future.
“I could be out in January, which is alone three months away,” he said. “I’m accepting added applications and added attention.”
For Thoelke, accepting a job advanced of his absolution would be added than a relief. It would accommodate him with an important springboard for accepting all the added things he will charge on the outside, such as housing.
“I appetite to get a job and accomplish as abundant money as I can,” he said.
A job on the alfresco provides a able apparatus in alienated a acknowledgment to prison, Elkins said.
“A lot of bodies get out of prison, and they end up on the streets,” he said. “They appear aback to bastille because they can’t acquisition a job. Without a job, you’re set up to fail.”
Thoelke was already bushing out applications at Monday’s fair.
“I had one business acquaint me that, if I get out January 28, to accord them a call,” he said. “That’s a huge aplomb builder.”
In turn, Thoelke encouraged others to accept aplomb in the inmates.
“We’ve fabricated mistakes, but we’ve abstruse from those mistakes,” he said. “Don’t adjudicator us on our past. Accord us a chance, and you may acquisition we are some of the best and hardest-working advisers you’ve got.”
PREPARING FOR THE OUTSIDE
Wepking said she was admiring with Monday’s assembly of both inmates and businesses. The numbers were constant with the aboriginal job fair aftermost April, which was abounding by 18 businesses.
“Most of the inmates accessory (Monday’s) job fair were aural 30 canicule of release,” she said. “They were appropriate to assurance up advanced of time for the fair and were disconnected into three accouterment of about 45 account each.”
At one table, Masaba animal assets administrator Wendy Sommervold batten absurdly about her acquaintance at the job fair. For her, the accident provided an befalling to ample slots at the Vermillion business, which produces mining equipment, amid added things.
Many businesses are adverse a workforce shortage, and the inmates can accommodate admired accomplished workers, she noted.
“This is my aboriginal time at the job fair, and the accession I accustomed (from the inmates) has been wonderful,” she said. “The inmates seemed actual acquisitive and absorbed in our positions. They were so affianced and asked a lot of questions about the jobs, the wages, the bodies and the environment.”
How austere was Sommervold about hiring inmates aloft their release?
“You be abiding to alarm us!” she shouted out to one abandonment inmate, who flashed a smile and captivated up the company’s abstracts and appliance forms.
Monday’s job fair angry in with the prison’s abstruse programs, according to MDSP accessory wardens Alex Reyes and Rebecca Schieffer.
Reyes acclaimed the job fairs are geared against prisoners advancing their absolution date, but added inmates are accustomed to participate if they are allotment of the abstruse programs.
“We like to accord them the befalling (to interview) afterwards they accept becoming their affidavit in programs like architecture technology, adjustment and automotive,” he said. “When we accelerate out the apprehension (about the job fair), we let the administration apperceive what accomplishment sets the inmates accept (achieved).”
The job fair provides inmates with an important affiliation to administration for activity alfresco of prison, Reyes said.
“It’s an abundantly important allotment of our ambition of accepting them aback into society,” he said. “We accommodate programming and apprenticeship to adjust the inmates. This job fair gives them added (resources) to get them acquainted with the alfresco — the association they will be aing and a workforce that will be a actual important allotment of their lives.”
Schieffer acicular to the “soft skills” that inmates access by accessory the fair.
“You accept guys with bound job experience, and this (fair) provides admired account skills,” she said. “The added you can interview, the bigger you can get at it.”
In addition, the inmates accept abetment with creating resumes and bushing out job applications, Schieffer said.
In that respect, Monday’s job fair was for real, she added.
“This is not a apish exercise,” she said. “Some of these (inmates) can be hired. These administration are attractive to hire. If article works out and inmates can get a job, it’s the best affair we can do.”
Schieffer accepted MDSP admiral weren’t abiding what to apprehend back they launched the job fairs.
“The aboriginal one was a little alien territory. We didn’t apperceive if we would accept a acceptable assembly of administration at the fair, and we did. We didn’t apperceive for abiding if the inmates were accommodating to participate, but we had a lot of them,” she said.
Some new administration showed up at Monday’s job fair, Schieffer said.
“The chat is accepting around. Monica (Wepking) gets a advantageous cardinal of altered employers, not aloof from Yankton but from places like Huron and Sioux Falls,” she said. “We accept a advanced array of businesses, and we additionally accept the Department of Labor and the Veterans Administration.”
Schieffer thinks the cardinal of participants can abound alike added for approaching job fairs.
“That’s accurate abnormally if we can get added administration from a added distance,” she said. “If an bedfellow affairs to go to Rapid City afterwards his absolution and there aren’t any Rapid City administration actuality (at the job fair), why would that bedfellow attend? But if you accept a acceptable array of employers, I anticipate it ability advice with accepting added inmates to appear the job fair and administer for jobs.”
Thoelke saw the job fair as an auspicious assurance for inmates.
“When you’re aing to accepting out (of prison), you’re afraid about whether you are activity to acquisition a job. Being a felon can accomplish it that abundant harder,” he said. “But again you accept all these businesses appearance up and accord us applications. They additionally gave us words of achievement and encouragement, cogent us that we can acquaintance them back we get out and we’re about affirmed an interview.”
Elkins offers a chat of acknowledgment to MDSP for the abstruse training and job fair. Inmates commutual the programs can accept a abridgement in their sentences, he added.
“This gives us a ambition back we get out of prison,” he said. “It shows we can accomplish article of ourselves rather than go bottomward the aforementioned alley as before.”
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