Second Chance Month provides an opportunity to highlight the barriers people face in finding work after incarceration – and the benefits of the programs that help them overcome those challenges. Our Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO) program funds efforts like this to help people find work and succeed on the job after incarceration. Recently we caught up with Hakim Valore, whose experience with the REO-funded Pathway Home helped him achieve some of his work goals by completing a training program to become a carpenter and be hired on as a machine operator in a local quarry.
How did you learn about this program?
Pathway Homewas mentioned while I was incarcerated. My cellmate was told about Pathway Home, and I became interested in what Pathways had to offer. I wanted to pursue a different life path upon release and was able to enroll into Pathway Home while incarcerated. I saw very quickly during enrollment and follow up meetings that this program would support and steer me towards my goals.
What skills did you learn in the program? Did anything you learned or experienced surprise you?
I think the biggest thing I learned was to persevere and stay positive. I faced numerous obstacles and still do. The program helped me build self-confidence. The Pathway Home staff view me as a person and not a number. My case manager was resourceful and encouraging, which has been a great help for my progress and motivation.
How did the program help you find work?
The program shares many job resources and even introduced me to several employment and career opportunities. They took the time to provide interview clothing and basic essentials to help prepare me for interviews and to be successful in the workforce. Sometimes they would be right alongside me during my journey. The program was able to focus on my goals and guide me towards work that matched my goals.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The opportunity to grow and create a path for others. I like being able to start a project and see it through to completion. I like that at my job I can continue to learn and grow. I’m outdoors, not in the same environment daily, and I like the daily challenges of being a machine operator.
How did the program change or improve your life?
The program took me from a state of helplessness to a state of hope. Upon meeting the staff, I got teared up with the ability to receive these supportive services.
What have you learned about yourself through this experience?
I learned there is nothing that I face or a barrier to my life that I cannot overcome
What would you tell somebody else considering the program?
Don’t stop, even when the doors seem to close there are plenty of doors open. Pathway Home can provide hope, self-confidence, motivation and resources, determination.
What are your goals for the future?
Greatness in my career journey. This has also helped me look at life as hopeful. As anyone that would have been in my position, I was faced with barrier after barrier and continued to work on myself and explore any and all options available to me.
Does your organization provide job training and employment services to currently or previously incarcerated individuals? Apply for a Pathway Home grant by April 21.