• Nearly half of people with criminal backgrounds are still jobless a year after leaving prison impacting Black, Latino, and People of Color disproportionately
  • 40% of previously incarcerated individuals or families impacted by incarceration reported they did not know how or where to connect to local resources


  • 170 participants: Latino: 60%; Black or African American: 23%; White: 11%; Mixed
    Race: 3%; Other or undisclosed: 2%
  • 49% having been incarcerated, 67% having a family member who was


  • Convened partner agencies committed to this underserved population to develop a Trauma Informed and Responsive Ready, Willing and Able Assessment Tool and an online platform to identify services and make referrals.
  • Formed a Learning Community of Practice with partner agencies: Helix Human Services, HCS Head Start, Holyoke Community College, Home City Development, MassHire Springfield, New North Citizens’ Council, Springfield School Volunteers, and Square One
  • Led training in trauma-informed and responsive approaches and provided direct support to partner agency managers and staff for 170 clients

Impact & Outcomes — Capacity Building

  •  Agency staff learned skills to provide better services: developing connection and trust with clients, understanding and asking about barriers to employment that they previously would not, and seeking more appropriate resources to support readiness for employment
  • Clients described a sense of safety, connection, and trust to discuss difficult and personal issues that had been barriers to success
  • 413Cares Online platform facilitated connections between social services programs across Western Mass, making navigating and connecting to resources easier
  • 23 resource categories provided over 70 service programs to Prepare for Employment, Sustain Employment, or Connect to Training & Career Coaching

Impact & Outcomes — Systems Change

  • Designed to create lasting change in the ways current systems approach barriers to employment by cultivating a broader understanding of the multiple barriers for individuals and families
  • Began to shift the burden of navigating these systems to the service providers rather than program recipients
  • Equipped agencies and staff with the training and assessment tools to engage more effectively with vulnerable populations
  • Several partner agencies and staff have indicated the intention to continue to use the assessment tool and online platform beyond this project

Next Steps

  • Engage employers to break down barriers, and implement and strengthen hiring relationships for “2nd chance” hiring

Many thanks to our partner agencies!

*Surveys were intentionally targeted at justice-system-involved individuals.

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