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Pawtucket Probation & Parole Unit Helps Ex-Offenders with Job Readiness Skills

Rhode Island College graduate student Jill MacCormack had the necessary skill set and Probation & Parole Officer Adrienne McGowan had the clients in need of help. As an intern with the Pawtucket Adult Probation & Parole Office, Jill devised a curriculum for an Employment Readiness Group and Adrienne invited probationers she felt would benefit from the seven-week course to participate. Two groups have now graduated from the program, which the Pawtucket staff hopes to continue to offer on a regular basis.

Finding a job is challenging for anyone in this economy. For a sex offender, the challenge is monumental. PO McGowan’s caseload consists exclusively of sex offenders, and their unemployment rate is extremely high. “While it seems obvious, what some people fail to realize is that finding employment reduces the risk of recidivism for this population,” McGowan notes.

The sessions included mock interviews, with Supervisor Marc Moody posing as the employer; resume writing and revision; interview tips; application assistance; goal and objective setting; identification of strengths and transferable skills; advice on proper dress and how to field questions about incarceration history; and a wrap-up party and graduation.

“The class was a real confidence builder,” McGowan notes. “One participant was very depressed when he started, which would have been a real hindrance in finding a job since his Affect was so poor. After the course though, his depression lessened considerably.”

Assistant Probation & Parole Administrator Richard Delfino attended the graduation and was impressed with the achievements of the graduates, one of whom had already found work having just completed a ten-year prison term.

Jill MacCormack will graduate from RIC this month with her Masters in Social Work. She was assisted in running the groups by Providence College undergraduate intern Matthew Yetsko. The curriculum will be available for use by other student interns and Probation & Parole Officers in the future.

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