The Rock City Reentry Program (RCRP) was created to administer a grant awarded to the Little Rock Workforce Development Board (LRWDB) under the Reentry Employment Opportunities Program in 2017 by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
The purpose of this grant is to provide eligible, incarcerated individuals in state correctional facilities or local jails with workforce services prior to release and to continue services after release by transitioning the participants into the workforce in the communities to which they will return.
As Reentry Manager, Courtney Darrow, puts it: “The Rock City Reentry Program is a vehicle to invest in those who are willing to invest in themselves.”
The Little Rock Workforce Development Board (LRWDB) and Rock City Reentry are collaborating on several innovative programs for returning citizens as part of the Pathway Home 3 initiative. The service model for this program incorporates evidence-based case management, employment, and training practices to assist participants in pre-release planning and post-release transition into the community. Case managers work with participants to create a personalized plan for their reentry journey and provide access to supportive resources.
Pathway Home 3 includes a 96-hour program called Future Fit where participants are instructed by University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College staff while still incarcerated at the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility. The Future Fit program was developed by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission in partnership with local manufacturers. Future Fit equips participants with skills such as understanding blueprints, machine operations, safety and OSHA certifications and interpersonal skills.
Future-Fit certification is received before release, which allows participants to apply with employers with skills and certification that increase employability. If you are a local employer that could benefit from hiring a Future-Fit certified employee, please contact Reentry Manager, Courtney Darrow at [email protected].
The most recent cohort of Future Fit graduates received their certification on November 30. Overall, 38 participants have graduated from the Future Fit Program. Another 10 participants have completed the Forklift Certification component of the program. Future Fit participants find the program to be so valuable that several have continued to complete certification after being released from the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility.
Thank you to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, which developed the Future Fit program. Many thanks, also, to CSI Academy within the Pulaski County Detention Center, University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College (UAPTC), and Restore Hope, which play key roles in making the program a reality.
Much appreciation also goes to Future Fit graduates who have invested in their own success as well as their families, friends, and other members of the community who helped them stay the course.