Meaningful Employment Is Key To Future Success Of Inmates

(NEW CASTLE) – It has long been known there are barriers for a person returning to society from prison. Primary among these barriers is not having desired job skills and also lacking the necessary people skills sought in today’s workforce.

This is where the Indiana Department of Correction staff who work as members of the HIRE team come into play. HIRE stands for the Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry and consists of Department of Correction employees who facilitate soon-to-be-former offenders in their search for meaningful employment.

Carrie Heck, HIRE Director, communicates via Microsoft Teams with a staff member.

Participation in the HIRE program is voluntary and those seeking to be part of the program know effort will be required on their part to make their reintegration back into society a success. HIRE team staff help match a participant’s skill sets with those of a prospective employer. This is accomplished by meetings with potential employers to stay current on what positions are available and then help connect the employer with a job candidate.

A result of the pandemic, the HIRE team staff had to make changes in how information is shared between employers seeking job candidates and the people seeking positions upon their return to society. Prior to the pandemic, meetings could be arranged in-person. Now, like many other businesses, virtual meetings allows the HIRE team members to maintain contact with employers and be aware of their needs. With these points in mind a staff retreat was held at the Correctional Training Institute to go over past lesson plans previously presented in-person. Working in collaboration with Staff Development and Training’s Curriculum Development Specialists, the team reworked these programs and videoed them so they could be presented in a virtual training environment.

Michael Martin-Drain, HIRE Assistant Regional Director for the South, works with staff in a role-play.

During the retreat HIRE team members also worked through some role-playing scenarios to help each other sharpen their skills and to better connect former offenders with future employment opportunities. 

Each HIRE team staff member is committed to helping program participants be successful upon their release. It is a team effort predicated on the belief of the importance of helping those released from prison to become a better version of themselves through training and education programs to find meaningful employment.

More information about HIRE is available at this IDOC web page: