BYA Starts New Reentry Program

Kevin Williams

Through a $2.9 million U.S. Department of Labor Community-based Job Training Grant awarded to the Peralta Community College District, Berkeley Youth Alternatives’ (BYA) new Reentry Program under Dionne Carter, MPH is designed for previously incarcerated individuals, dislocated workers, long-term unemployed individuals and people with limited English-proficiency. The Reentry Program offers similar workforce services as BYA’s Steps-2-Success program (S2S) and provides services targeting the youth Reentry population. From bus and BART passes to work clothes and academic supplies, the Reentry Program provides case management, training and support services toward removing barriers to education and employment. The program offers GED and High School Diploma assistance as well as counselors for individual sessions. In addition to work readiness, the program is geared toward sustainable employment. Through Merritt College and College of Alameda, participants will take courses in Green Building and Energy Management, Logistics and Transportation, Medical Assistance, and Counseling.  Paid internships will be offered in these areas as well that hopefully, lead to jobs. “Our program will be critical to supporting not only the Reentry population but also chronically under-employed people. We know the economy is tough right now but it’s even tougher for those with records,” said Niculia Williams, Executive Director. Participants will also have the opportunity to participate in BYA’s new Silk-Screen T-shirt business which will be launching soon. “Jobs are great tools to combat recidivism. It saddens us that people who have made some mistakes, are totally left out the economy,” said Associate Director Kevin Williams, JD, MPH. “The hope with this program and BYA’s participation in the Peralta Achievement Collaborative, is that employers will come to the table and give young adults a ‘second or even a third chance.’ We have to pull everyone together if we are truly going to ‘reintegrate’ some folks back into society and into the workforce.” YA’s Reentry program is mainly for individuals ages 18-24. For more information about the Reentry program, please contact Dionne Carter, BYA’s Reentry and Prevention Services Program Manager at (510) 845-9071 dcarter@byaonline.org.
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