The Governor’s Office of Workforce Development partners with the Department of Juvenile Justice to offer juvenile offenders “RESPECT”
The Governor’s Office of Workforce Development (GOWD) is partnering with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to offer young offenders a fresh start through the “RESPECT” (Re-Entry Skills Preparation and Education Career Training) program.
“As young people prepare to transition into workforce, it’s important that they are equipped with the soft skills that employees find critical in every field,” said Blake Ashbee, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development. “We are excited to be a part of the ‘RESPECT’ program and provide students with tools to build life-long skills and a new start to a future with endless possibilities.”
Using a different approach to preparing young offenders for their transition back home and to their communities, “RESPECT” ensures that youth released from correctional programs receive the information, education and training they need to re-enter the workforce easily. Participants in the program focus on developing vital skills that lead to future success, including workplace etiquette, resume building and interview preparation.
“We are thankful for this collaboration with GOWD and the many doors it will open for our students,” said Zane Shelfer, director of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education for DJJ. “We believe that the more educated our students are, the more likely they are to succeed with finding a job and being productive citizens once they return to their communities. ‘RESPECT’ is an ideal program to provide our students with the soft skills they need to find and maintain employment.”
The DJJ School System, recently renamed Georgia Preparatory Academy, enrolls students at its Eastman Youth Development Campus who have graduated from high school and/or have a GED in its Graduate Education program and “RESPECT.”
Those previously convicted of juvenile offenses meet many hurdles when seeking employment. Youths often become discouraged by these struggles and resort to repeating offenses. With “RESPECT,” GOWD and DJJ hope to decrease the recidivism rate, and provide the tools young people need to pursue a positive path.