October 31, 2011 RSS feed

The Ex-offender's Job Interview Guide by Caryl and Ron Krannich
Cover Art
Addressing the many employability issues facing ex-offenders, this book helps people with not-so-hot backgrounds deal with the realities of today's job market, especially face-to-face encounters with reluctant employers who prefer not hiring ex-offenders who may lack good workplace skills and pose risks to follow employees and customers. It offers seasoned advice on how ex-offenders can tell the whole truth and still go on to ace the critical job interview. Focusing on how to identify and respond to red flag behaviors in one's background, individual chapters demonstrate how ex-offenders can turn obvious red flags into green lights by developing excellent communication skills that focus on the positives. These positives include everything from the choice of language to compelling examples and stories of self-transformation and rehabilitation.
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October 24, 2011 RSS feed

Dewey Bozella: Courage and Conviction Lead Aspiring Boxer to Freedom

Dewey Bozella’s early life was one of hardship and turmoil, having witnessed his father beat his pregnant mother to death as a young boy. Foster care and life on the streets defined his youth until he found his calling in the sport of boxing. He showed promise training at Floyd Patterson’s camp and moved from Brooklyn to make a life for himself in upstate New York. He was a talented young fighter and determined to be a good man. In 1983, Bozella’s life took a dramatic turn when he was convicted of a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to 20 years to life in Sing Sing prison, Bozella maintained his innocence and exhausted every appeal. He was offered more than four separate chances for an early release if he would only admit guilt and show remorse, but Bozella consistently refused to accept freedom under such conditions. Anger at his imprisonment gave way to determination and instead of becoming embittered, he became a model prisoner: earning his GED, bachelors and masters degrees; working as a counselor for other prisoners; and eventually even falling in love and getting married. Through it all, Bozella found strength and purpose through boxing, becoming the light heavyweight champion of Sing Sing Prison.

Bozella Masters Degree and Certificates

Unyielding in his innocence, Bozella never gave up fighting in or out of the ring. He wrote to the Innocence Project daily in his quest for a ray of hope. The law firm WilmerHale eventually took on Bozella’s case and uncovered new evidence that exonerated him. After being in prison more than 26 years, he was finally released in October 2009. Today, Bozella devotes his life to helping others, working with a non-profit that helps recently released prisoners rehabilitate back into the world. He has also returned to boxing as a trainer to kids and aspiring fighters, all the while maintaining his dream to fight one professional fight as a free man.

Read more about Mr. Bozella at www.deweybozella.com/
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October 24, 2011 RSS feed

Employment & Empowerment: An Interview with Twin Cities RISE!

Recently, Freedom Ticket talked with Twin Cities Rise! (TCR!) about their programs for people leaving corrections facilities.

What is Twin Cities RISE!?
TCR!, a long-term work skills and personal empowerment program for adults living in deep poverty, helps people gain full-time, living wage jobs with benefits. TCR! combines one-on-one coaching, customized work skills instruction, supportive services, internship opportunities, professional employment placement services and our unique Personal Empowerment training to help reduce generational poverty in the Twin Cities. TCR!’s mission is to provide employers with skilled workers – primarily men from communities of color in the Twin Cities area – by training under- and unemployed adults for skilled jobs that pay a living wage of at least $20,000 annually.

How could your program benefit someone leaving a corrections facility?
TCR! works with participants with the most difficult barriers to employment, including substance abuse, low educational attainment, generational poverty and criminal records. With the help of partner organizations and the criminal justice system, we actively recruit people from corrections facilities who need the skills and personal empowerment to rejoin society and the workforce.

What suggestions do you have to empower people facing challenges in life?
We tell participants in our Personal Empowerment training that they are loveable, important and valuable and that their core values can never be taken away. When people tell you that you’re not worthy of having a job, being successful, or having hope for the future, you must remember that simply by being born, you have significant value and a place in this world.

TRC!’s Personal Empowerment training helps participants grow their own self-confidence, learn how to regulate their emotions, develop a problem-solving approach to challenges, and be accountable for their own actions and future. These tools help participants manage everyday challenges more effectively. The training also helps participants build openness to learning and planning skills, laying the foundation for success on the job and in life. Every year, TCR! gives an award to a participant who demonstrates how the training has transformed his or her life. According to one award applicant:

“I had forgotten the basic fundamental that I am lovable, valuable and important…I was at a crossroads. I could keep feeling sorry for myself or take responsibility for where I was in life and make something of it. Personal Empowerment training has taught me that no one can change my attitude but me.”

Personal Empowerment training doesn’t just transform the person who takes the class. By changing the way the participant thinks and interacts with others, the participant’s family and community also change. As another participant said:

“Every interaction I have with the people in my life, including family and friends, has become an opportunity to pass along the flame of empowerment…I hand them a spark, a key to a door they might not have noticed before.”

If you have questions or would like to contact TCR!, please call the Minneapolis office at (612) 338-0295 or the St. Paul office at (651) 603-8520. You can also learn more online at www.twincitiesrise.org.

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