PINE BLUFF, Ark. — After spending time in prison, getting back into society can be a challenge. Some may give up if they don’t know where to turn. That’s why Goodwill is expanding its re-entry program to Pine Bluff.
Goodwill's re-entry program offers skills training, help with resumes and ultimately works with former inmates to help them find a stable career. The program just expanded to Pine Bluff in October
“Quite a few people, they tend to look down on people that have been incarcerated and as soon as your like, ‘Yea I’m a felon’ they start judging you," Isaac Sosbe said.
Sosbe and Quaterion Tucker are the first two people hired by the Pine Bluff Goodwill for their re-entry, 16-week transitional employment opportunity training, or TEO.
"I really want to get back on my feet," Tucker said. “I was just lost.”
They’re learning how to re-enter society after incarceration.
“My mindset now is on my kids, the main thing because I know right now I don’t have a good bond with them. That can change and I want that to change," Tucker said.
Tucker spent two and a half years in prison.
“I really struggled a lot since I was young and I was in foster homes and I was going through a lot," Tucker said. “I just want to do something different. I want to go to college."
Aside from making money on the job, they're learning skills to attract employers. The Pine Bluff Goodwill adopted the re-entry program in October which also includes free walk-in services for people re-entering society. They offer resume help, job skills training, and career counseling.
"We asked Goodwill to bring it to us because the center needed it," said Wanda Mouncil, Re-Entry Specialist with Goodwill who believes the program will better Pine Bluff. “Our demographic is different than any other county so we really needed that program to come here to get our folks working."
Once participants graduate from the program, Goodwill will help them find a stable career.
“Instead of just getting another job, they help you find something to do that you actually like to do," Sosbe said.