Workforce agency helps inmates develop job skills

Prison Service and National Workforce Development Agency officials pose for a photo with participants.

In an effort to reduce recidivism and increase employment opportunities, the National Workforce Development Agency and the Cayman Islands Prison Service recently hosted a training course for prison inmates.

Twelve prisoners participated in the two-week program, held at the NWDA offices, to develop job skills and learn how to secure employment upon release.

“Through role play and hands-on learning, we wanted the inmates to have a greater understanding of the responsibilities and challenges they face,” said Lois Kellyman, the agency’s acting director, in a press release.

“The courses offered the inmates insight on how they can build upon their skills and position themselves for success,” she added.

During the workshops, the inmates received “soft skills” training on how to build positive relationships, be active listeners, overcome communication barriers and create a positive first impression in the workplace.

“To many employers, these skills are just as or more important than work related skills,” said Tania Ebanks, National Workforce Development Agency program coordinator. “They are good indicators of how successful a prospective employee will be on the job.”

The program also included a job search and employment readiness component in resume writing, interview techniques, customer service training and personal finance management.

“Without stable employment, many of them will return to incarceration. Too many inmates are not prepared to compete for jobs,” said Neil Lavis, director of prisons. “The idea is to send the inmates out through the prison gates with marketable skills that lead to a stable job and positive environment once they re-enter society.”

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