IowaWORKS Services Offered to Offenders Before Release

Ed Wallace

For Immediate Release: April 2, 2015
Contact: Ed Wallace: (515) 281-5082

IowaWORKS Services Offered to Offenders Before Release

Des Moines, IA – IowaWORKS regional offices partner with the Iowa Department of Corrections to help offenders find gainful employment following their release from prison. Most prisons across the state have a workforce advisor in place whose primary goal is to address issues employers may have when hiring ex-offenders.

“Our hope is that working with ex-offenders and helping them gain education, job skills and other basic skills, that we can help them prepare to re-enter society and start over once they leave prison,” said Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “This helps not only the offender but families and communities as well.”

Part of that assistance is having offenders take the National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) assessments. An NCRC is required by many employers and trade union apprenticeships statewide. Taking these tests prior to release provides an offender with another tool to demonstrate their competence in the work place. The NCRC assessments measure skills in three areas: math, reading for information and locating information. If sufficient scores are obtained, an offender may receive either a platinum, gold, silver or bronze certificate.

Matt Gilford, re-entry advisor at the Newton Correctional Facility, recently took nine offenders to the Untapped Potential Career Fair at the Southridge DMACC Campus. Prior to attending the job fair, all of the offenders were required to complete a resume, cover letter and attend the “Maximize Your Career Fair” class. The participating offenders were able to sign in at registration tables and begin to make contact with employers. As a result, all of the offenders reported positive job prospects from the career fair. Overall, more than 350 job seekers were in attendance with more than 50 employers participating in the career fair.

If you would like more information regarding the offender reentry program, visit or visit your local IowaWORKS office.