Youth Offenders Transfer From Jail To Jobs With Career Academy
The Jail to Jobs Academy in Travis County, Texas is helping juvenile offenders who’ve been in and out of jail to obtain a job and get back to a normal life.
The Academy trains youth on how to get a job and keep it, giving them hands-on experiences, and introducing to many fields.
There are two Jail to Jobs academies in the summer for juveniles under 16, and during the year, they cater to juveniles between 17-21.
19-year-old Kevin King spent a year and a half in jail. The day he got out, he decided to make a change and signed up for the Jail to Jobs Academy, and he recently graduated.
“I was doing woodworking with them, making like signs, picture frames and I was actually getting paid to learn and to do that. It was pretty nice because I was learning something that really got my mind off the stressful things, and it just helped me out, get through the days,” said King.
Three years ago, local non-profit Nineveh Ministries started to offer the employment-based mentoring and job skills program to youth who had just been released from jail, with crimes ranging from car theft to home robberies.
“They tell everybody, ‘I’m never going back there again,’ and they mean it, but the problem is they go back to the same people, the same neighborhoods, and there’s a real slippery slope that happens that they get caught right back up in the same decision-making and processes that leads them back into jail,” said Eddie Franz, director of Jail to Jobs Academy.
Last year, the Jail to Jobs Academy employed 89 young men and women, and most of them now have full-time jobs, including King who has a different outlook on life.
“In August, I’m going to get enrolled in ACC and go to school for kinesiology,” said King.