Employers and Community Partners
In addition to the on-the-job training that occurs daily at our various operations, CI has designed specific experiences to help inmates find and keep employment upon release. One example of this effort is based on the federal prison model that brings employers and community organizations inside prison walls to help inmates practice their interviewing skills. It is our goal to organize and conduct Mock Interview Fairs at designated institutions every year. Inmates spend weeks to prepare for the experience in a workshop that starts with learning about the job market and a job search. The training includes a resume and application module; and ultimately ends with communicating their skills, abilities, qualifications and experience comfortably during an interview.
"It's helped me prepare for the outside world. It's good to know that people are willing to look past our mistakes."
Employers, human resources consultants, and hiring managers from businesses large and small are invited to interview participating CI inmates for mock jobs during annual Mock Interview Fairs at each of our major facilities. These events provide a realistic job application and interview experience to inmates who will release into the job market in the near future. This is not a forum for filling job openings. The objective is not for visiting employers to provide job offers to inmates; in fact it is discouraged. Rather the objective is to provide incarcerated individuals with an opportunity to learn how to interview from a subject matter expert.
The employers have an opportunity to give back, dispel myths, and meet a number of skilled, motivated, experienced and talented inmates who will eventually reenter the community. In making a positive connection with this population, our goal is to have employers learn about the potential of this hidden workforce and consider hiring individuals releasing from prison who meet their hiring needs.
Interested in getting involved in CI Mock Interview Fairs inside Washington's prisons? Please contact Correctional Industries Headquarters at 360-725-9100 and ask for Workforce Development staff.
A Successful Reentry
The main purpose of these events is to assist inmates with their interview skills. It also helps instill the confidence they need for success outside the walls of prison. Many inmates say they do not feel confident in finding a job once released, but by the end they feel better prepared to secure employment after discussing their relevant skills, abilities and experience with a mock interview panel. "It was challenging, but very insightful. I learned more about myself in regards to my strengths and weaknesses."