Re-Entry Programs: How FastForward Can Help Previously Incarcerated Students

Right now, there are 131,000 Virginians who are behind bars or are otherwise subject to the criminal justice system, according to data from PrisonPolicy.org. As incarcerated individuals get released (around 12,000 per year), it can be hard to find jobs or pathways that allow them to re-enter the workforce to start providing for their families.

When looking for options to re-enter the workforce, FastForward can provide individuals with easy access to training with financial support options, while helping them to build a network with resources and connections to set them up for success in the workplace.

Our FastForward Career Coaches are equipped to help students navigate the challenges that come with being previously incarcerated. They know which careers are non-starters, and which ones are accommodating to re-entry programs.

“While I don’t discourage pursuing medical fields, I always encourage IT, welding and pipe-fitting,” Alejandra Diaz-Rangel, FastForward Career Coach at Tidewater Community College, said. “But I do make sure we do the research before they go into those fields. The last thing I want is based on their background that they can’t gain employment.”

Situated on community college campuses, students who pursue FastForward career training and have access to support that they may not have otherwise been connected to.

“We work with Bridge Ministry, which works work offenders and previously incarcerated individuals to help them overcome addictions and re-enter the workforce clean,” says Brittney McDaniel, FastForward Career Coach at Piedmont Virginia Community College. “We also have Network to Work, which can help with housing and transportation. Whatever gets students to compete the training and find work.”

If you were previously incarcerated and you’re looking to re-enter the workforce, consider looking into FastForward training. You can connect with your local coach by using this form, and they can guide you through the process to find the options that work best for you.

You can do this. Read Andrea’s story about how she turned her life around once she was released from an eight-year sentence.