• 412-464-4000

  • 305 E. 8th Ave., Homestead, PA 15120

April is Second Chance Month

April is Second Chance Month, officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice to help individuals, communities, and agencies across the country recognize the importance of and provide resources in supporting safe and successful reentry from incarceration. This year marks 15 years since the passage of the Second Chance Act which has invested over $1.2 billion in efforts to reduce recidivism across the country.

Since 2002, MVI’s Southwestern Pennsylvania Re-entry Coalition (SPARC) has brought together industry professionals to discuss and address the needs of unemployed individuals who are returning to the job market after being incarcerated. MVI’s SPARC program helps identify potential career paths, increase the number of employers willing to hire formerly incarcerated individuals, address policy issues through information and advocacy, and increase connectivity across the three levels of the justice system – county, state, and federal.

Dr. T. Charles Howell IV, MVI’s Director of Workforce Development and Financial Coaching, believes the SPARC program encourages meaningful progress in the way formerly incarcerated individuals can reenter the workforce.

“Poverty and trauma often inform the communities that we serve, and a lack of coordinated resources is one of the driving motivators of their persistence. Individuals who have had an interaction with the justice system, nearly half of our program participants last year, have also historically been left out of workforce training initiatives, leaving a gap in their skills when trying to find work.

“It’s important that organizations like MVI encourage collaboration, increased funding, and education for employers so that the cycle is broken. Encouragingly, in the last few years in particular, we’ve seen an increase in funding and awareness at all levels of government.”

On April 25, MVI will be hosting an Expungement Clinic and Resource Fair organized by Mon Valley Providers Council. For more information on the event and to register, click here.

If you or your organization are a provider in the reentry space and would like to participate in the SPARC virtual meetings on the fourth Friday of every month at 10 A.M., email chowell@monvalleyinitiative.com or call 412-464-4000.

For more information on Second Chance Month, visit the National Reentry Resource Center at nationalreentryresourcecenter.org.

Mon Valley Initiative