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Program Helps Former Inmates Successfully Transition Into Workforce

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Success Without Barriers helps women who've spent time behind bars transition into the workforce. Success Without Barriers helps women who've spent time behind bars transition into the workforce.
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -

Re-entering the workforce can be a challenge for women who've completed a prison sentence, but there's a new program in Richmond helping them make the transition from a life behind bars for the boardroom.

Success Without Barriers is a new effort by Dress for Success Central Virginia. It picks up where re-entry training within the prison system leaves off. Success Without Barriers focuses on everything from resumes to speech development. Counselors so stress time management and moving forward.

"It is a huge barrier to climb over," says Shantell Malachi, Affiliate Founder and Executive Director.

Career Center Coordinator Shandra Thompson adds that there's also quite a bit of confidence building that goes along with training. "Make them comfortable about getting back into society. It's really hard sometimes."

A criminal background does come with a stigma, so Malachi says Success Without Barriers is working to change stereotypes and allow employers to feel good about giving former inmates a second chance. "A lot of women have money related charges, we're talking theft, larceny, embezzlement and with those crimes comes the trust issue."

Last year Dress for Success served nearly 100 women in Richmond, with a quarter of them finding a job. For 2014 the goal is to help even more, including this population too often forgotten. "We don't guarantee employment but we will help you fight for it. We are your advocate."

If you are interested in learning more about Success Without Barriers, follow this link.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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