IU13 Outlook Spring 2019 Issue
There is always light. With school expulsion, teenage pregnancy, and prison time, Natasha had many roadblocks standing in the way of her dreams.
However, because of the Improved Reentry Education (IRE) support through the Community Education program at IU13, Natasha was accepted to Lancaster County Career and Technology Center (LCCTC) as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) – a dream she’s had since she was 15.
With the IRE program, Natasha was able to earn her high school equivalency diploma after five months of tutoring. Here, she also learned about career and training options, which allowed her to enroll in Community Education’s Pre-LPN classes, where she learned the skills and knowledge necessary to pass LCCTC’s nursing entrance exam.
Natasha is just one of many who have benefited greatly from IU13’s Improved Reentry Education program, one of only nine programs nationwide. To support this important work, IU13 received a 3-year grant to provide educational opportunities to incarcerated or “recently released” individuals.
IU13 wanted to create a program that would help individuals support themselves and their families. Low-literacy and education levels often impact people involved in the justice system, thus limiting employment opportunities.
Through the IRE program, IU13 provided educational services to these individuals through adult education classes and high school equivalency testing services at Lancaster County Prison and Lebanon County Correctional Facility. They provided consistent community-based classes, tutoring, and testing to ensure that those who began working on earning educational credentials while incarcerated had the opportunity to complete them upon release.
And with the help of grants, IU13 developed and deepened collaborations with numerous facilities including Lancaster County’s prisoner reentry coalition, PA CareerLink, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, and more.
Over the program's three years, 416 individuals were enrolled, during which time 129 attained their High School Equivalency and 138 entered a post-secondary education or training program. The goal of the program was simple, but powerful: provide encouragement through personal instruction to a vulnerable population. Based on these outcomes and the stories of lives changed for the better, this was a success.
This program impacted so many lives! Here are a few success stories:
Frankie – Frankie had a dream: working in the medical field as an EMT. With the help of his parole officer Mr. Brown, and GED instructor Mary Edith Leichliter, he was able to make his dreams a reality.
Brian – Brian knows the struggle that comes from homelessness and dropping out of high school. But when he had his first daughter, he knew change had to be made. Through the help of the program, Brian was able to create a new hope.
Michael – Michael was a struggling kid who abused substances to cope. But when he met Brad Weaver, a Community Education Instructor for IU13, Brad taught him the job skills he needed to continue his career path.
Cedric – Cedric was struggling to renew his commercial truck driver license (CDL) after a battle with addiction, and later jail time. The CDL training program at Lancaster County Career and Technology Center (LCCTC) gave him a “light of hope” to continue on.
Joseph – Joseph credits his success in math to his Community Education instructor, who helped him earn his High School Equivalency, which later on allowed him to become a certified welder.
William – William was unsure of his next steps, but with the help of LCCTC’s welding program, he is now a welder in a manufacturing company and is featured on billboards across Lancaster County.
View the full community report about this program.