This week (October 2017) we deepened our partnership with the MCCF WorkSource Montgomery Center, located in Montgomery County, Maryland, when we trained and certified MCCF staff to offer Roots of Success to men and women incarcerated in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility (MCCF); a jail located about an hour from Baltimore that holds almost 1,000 inmates.

MCCF WorkSource Center is one of three American Job Centers in Montgomery County; and was one of the first center in the country to operate within a maximum security correctional facility.

Formerly called “One-Stop” Career Centers, the centers are located throughout the United States and offer an array of services including job search assistance, training opportunities, and classes related to seeking employment. Eligible populations include veterans, youth, dislocated workers, ex-offenders, and in Montgomery – men and women held in the jail.

A driving principle of the MCCF Center is the acknowledgment that people with criminal records have different needs than typical job seekers; they often have many more barriers to employment success. Specialized interventions are required for this population to compete on a level playing field among other job seekers.

Participants in the MCCF program are called “customers.” This language signifies a shift in thought from traditional service delivery. Customers are equal partners in the process; not recipients of services due to personal deficits. Staff members are referred to as “coaches.” Coaches provide training, guidance, and exercises while the customer himself is responsible to put in the needed effort toward measurable success. This approach encourages independence and personal empowerment versus dependence on staff members.

MCCF staff is planning to have participants take all ten modules of Roots of Success, with the goal of preparing individuals for employment opportunities in multiple sectors of the labor market upon release. We are very excited about this partnership, which brings education and workforce opportunities to men and women held in the Maryland’s jails.