Offender workforce development programs should target offenders at high risk for recidivism, address the dynamic influences that predict crime, and provide intervention specific to the needs of the offender. The Employment Retention Initiative supports the development of strength-based programs administered by qualified and well-trained staffs to assess offenders at high risk for job loss, identify specific job loss indicators, and provide support to break the chain of events and/or behaviors that result in termination.
A major component of this initiative is the provision of a competency-based Offender Employment Retention Specialist (OERS) training for individuals involved in offender workforce development. The training, delivered using a combination of both classroom-based and distance learning instruction, is the third course in a series specific to offender workforce development (with Offender Employment Specialist training and Offender Workforce Development Specialist training being the first two courses, respectively). This training builds on the relationship between the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI) techniques. Combining these two research-based methods helps the offender create a solid foundation for self-exploration, one that helps resolve any ambivalence to change.