work-and-community-ready-videoOver the past year, Spectrum Health Systems developed the Work & Community Ready Women program to address the specific vocational, educational and employment needs and barriers of Maine’s female offender population. The program incorporates a range of skill development workshops, and community resources developed with the support and assistance of the Florence V. Burden Foundation and the Maine Department of Corrections.

After only just one year, the program has demonstrated exceptional results in preparing releasing women for gainful employment in the community upon release. It supports successful reentry by helping women develop portfolios, set employment goals, create a work/life balance, and live a drug-free, crime-free lifestyle. Indeed, many participants have gone on to pursue educational goals and career opportunities.

The success of the program can be seen in the outcomes of the seventeen women who participated in the initial pilot program and have since been released:

  • All 17 women have secured full- or part-time employment in the community.
  • Five women who completed the course have engaged in post-secondary training.
  • Two women who completed the course are currently engaged in on-the-job training in the community.
  • Of the 17 that have been released, only one has been re-arrested.

The program has received statewide attention, including a public media presentation by the Portland Press Herald. We invite you to view “Changing Lives: Taleisha’s Story” and consider the impact of this program, which was recently endorsed by the Maine Department of Corrections as an evidence-based program.

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