County Taps Goodwill to Help Ex-Cons Enter Workforce

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a five-year, $647,200 contract with Goodwill Industries of Southern California to provide employment services for convicted felons unable to find work on their own.

The Riverside County Department of Probation sought the agreement with the nonprofit after reviewing the qualifications of 56 prospective vendors and determining that Goodwill was the best provider.

Under the contract, which will be funded using state grants tied to the Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011, Goodwill will place staff at the Department of Probation’s Day Reporting Center at 1020 Iowa Ave. in Riverside, and the DRC at 41002 County Center Drive in Temecula.

DRCs are considered “one-stop shop” service centers focused on rehabilitation of former inmates.

Goodwill will be responsible for all jobs-based re-integration efforts, including assessing each ex-offender’s level of education and capabilities.

Workers will be available for financial literacy tutorials, matching recipients with occupational training programs, setting up externships or on- the-job training opportunities, sorting out transportation needs, assisting with resume writing and doing case management to keep users on track, according to the contract terms.

“Finding and keeping a job are considered marks of successful adulthood,” according to an agency statement posted to the board’s agenda. “With employment and income providing an adequate standard of living, adults are more secure in their community and are role models for their children. Community re-integration is essential if those re-entering our communities from jail or state prison are to be successful.”

According to the Prisoner Policy Institute, about 30 percent of the ex- offender population is chronically unemployed.

According to the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, the recidivism rate statewide is just above 50 percent, meaning more than half of those paroled from prison are likely to re-offend within three years and end up back in the penal system.

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