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Mar 14, 2012
While serving time at West Shoreline Correctional facility, Kelly Keller admitted he did not have much hope of finding work once he was paroled. This was his third incarceration. As the days grew nearer to his release, he doubted this time would be any different from his two previous attempts to stay out of prison. Despite his uncertainty, Kelly attended the in-reach employment workshops offered by Goodwill’s Prisoner Reentry (PR) program at West Shoreline. During the employment workshops, Kelly learned tools to help overcome the barriers that a felony imposed to finding work. He completed the WorkKeys assessment, created a resume, and learned effective job interviewing skills. Upon completion of the in-reach classes, Kelly’s confidence grew knowing he had support to assist him in being successful upon his release.
Upon his parole, Kelly met with his Goodwill case managers and was enrolled in the Second Chance program. Kelly was given additional training to help him create a budget and submit his resume online to on the Michigan Talent Bank. In addition, Kelly was given an opportunity to go to work in Goodwill’s Managed Employment Program and placed in Goodwill’s Industrial Services Center performing contracted sub-assembly and packaging work. The experience gave Kelly a chance to reacclimate himself to the work environment, while receiving coaching and feedback, as well as a paycheck. Kelly’s on-site supervisor, Marie Nikoloff, noted that Kelly was punctual, highly productive, and able to stay focused on his assigned tasks.
At the same time, Smith Tire owner, John Lundholm was looking for an employee who was reliable and motivated to work. John had attended an informative Prisoner Reentry luncheon hosted by Goodwill Industries Workforce Development Center back in 2010. At the luncheon, John learned that the purpose of the PR program was to create safer communities. He understood the benefit of giving someone with a felony conviction a second chance. He was also introduced to other employers who had used the program and was able to discuss the value of the PR program from an employer’s perspective.
Based on Kelly’s positive job performance evaluations for his work at Goodwill, his case manger approached Smith Tire to consider Kelly as a valuable fit for their company. Through the Second Chance Act grant, Smith Tire received wage reimbursement to assist with the cost of employee training. Smith Tire officially hired Kelly in July, where he continues to be employed today. In addition, John has guided Kelly in saving money to reach his goal of becoming a homeowner. Kelly has credited his success to his involvement in the PR program, “I don’t know where I’d be without this chance,” he said.