Description of Program

The New Leaf Career Development program primarily consists of a four workshop career support series designed to address the career development needs of community ex-offenders. General topics covered by the four workshops include: assessment, resume writing, interviewing skills, and job search strategies. Each workshop is two hours long, and all four are offered over a period of approximately 6 weeks.

If you are interested in a specific topic and the meeting date or time is inconvenient, contact Mark Scholl directly at 336-758-5618, and he may be able to provide the workshop at a different date or time.

The participants in the workshops are all ex-offenders. Workshops range from three to seven participants in size. Ex-offenders who qualify for participation are required to be clean and sober, speak and write fluent English, and be either unemployed or underemployed (i.e., too few hours, position is not equal to one’s skill or education level). Methods of instruction, based on a strengths-based approach, include modeling skills, role play, written exercises, transferable skills assessment, peer feedback, and goal identification and planning.

Description of Workshops

Workshop 1—Assessment. The assessment workshop begins with a guided discussion of participants’ views of their future. Second, participants identify and discuss their potential future selves. Third, reflecting the strength-based philosophy of our program, participants complete a variety of assessments including transferable skills inventory, and values assessment. Participants use knowledge from the assessments to identify the type(s) of work they believe they would find rewarding and enjoyable.

Workshop 2—Resume Writing. Participants review the results of assessments from the previous workshop. The presenter(s) discuss the qualities that make an effective objective statement. Participants then review past and present work-related activities including volunteer and community work they have performed. They are provided with model resumes and a resume worksheet which they use as a guide in composing their resumes.

Workshop 3—Interviewing Skills. Employers are impressed by strengths that are supported by compelling narratives. In this workshop, the facilitators employ the acronym STAR (Situation/Task/Action/Result) as a guide to assist participants in crafting compelling narratives to effectively communicate their strengths to employers. Workshop attendees prepare and share narratives illustrating at least three of their strengths. The presenters model interviewing skills, and participants role play answering interview questions.

Workshop 4—Job Search Strategies. This workshop includes a list of 22 principles for job search success as well as a list of tips for completing application forms. Principles and tips emphasizing prosocial, competent, and professional behaviors and strategies. In addition to conventional strategies, the workshop includes strategies that represent thinking outside of the box.