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Journal of Applied Juvenile Justice Services

  • Easing Reentry through Employability Skills Training for Incarcerated Youth

    Three distinct time periods frame the juvenile justice process: before, during, and after incarceration. This article focuses on services and supports at each of these critical stages, specifically regarding employability skills. These skills, although supportive of, are different than vocational skills. Beyond specific trade skills, employability skills include at a minimum: effective communication, problem solving, taking responsibility, and teamwork. These skills are important in many areas in addition to employment, but they are perhaps most essential to obtain and hold a job. Thus, in this article, the psychological damage of youth incarceration is examined as well as the impact on obtaining and maintaining employment post incarceration. Existing programs and supports for employability skills are explored for before, during, and after incarceration. Finally, resources for practitioners are provided and the needs for future research are discussed (p. 42). Sections of this article include: introduction; the importance of employability skills; psychological damage; trauma-informed care; employment post incarceration; conceptual framework-life course theory; instructional programs targeting competencies for employability skills-before incarceration (examples of employability skills programs, and missed opportunities), during incarceration (examples of employability skills programs, and unmet need), and after incarceration (examples of employability skills programs, and remaining needs); the necessity of further research and development-resources for practitioners, future research, programs and practices, desistance or recidivism, and community-based alternatives; and conclusion.