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KDOC Attends Offender Employment Retention Specialist Training

by David Cook last modified Jun 27, 2013 02:26 PM
The Kansas Department of Corrections was well represented at the National Corrections Academy/National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Learning Center’s Offender Employment Retention Specialist (OERS) training in Aurora, Colo., January 8 – 13. Four from the KDOC successfully participated: Zachary Burgoon, Topeka Correctional Facility; Eliott Nelson, Kansas City Parole Office/Lansing Correctional Facility; Kelli Martinez, Topeka Parole Office; and Cindy Rowland, Hutchinson Correctional Facility.
KDOC Attends Offender Employment Retention Specialist Training

Pictured: (left to right) Cindy Rowland, Zachary Burgoon, Eliott Nelson, Kelli Martinez

The four were selected from more than 45 applicants to receive the specialized training, mostly funded through the NIC. They are now among 51 OERS worldwide, which also includes Jim Chastain, the KDOC’s program manager for Offender Workforce Development. 

Training combined cognitive behavioral principles with motivational interviewing strategies and gave participants the knowledge and skills to administer an Employment Retention Inventory to connect offenders to services and programs that support the offenders' long-term attachment to the workforce.  The training was created in response to research that suggests that unstable employment histories and low levels of personal, educational, and vocational achievement help predict continued criminal involvement for offenders.  Research has shown that the work history for many offenders was fragmented prior to their initial contact with the criminal justice system and any effort to help offenders maintain their connection to the workforce warrants the implementation of innovative approaches to address the behavioral health of offenders classified as being at high risk for job loss.

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