The desire for gainful employment transcends race, color, gender, creed, and circumstance. This is especially true for returning citizens who are looking to get re-acclimated into the community and its social fabric.
Charles Dickerson is just one example of a justice-involved individual longing for societal reintegration and Employ Milwaukee's Reentry Service team was there to assist. Shortly after his release from prison, after having served 23 consecutive years, Charles was looking for employment. As he was walking from his temporary living quarters to Walgreens on W. North Avenue and N. 27th Street he noticed a sign that read, Employ Milwaukee, and he thought he had hit the jackpot and his desires for gainful employment would be acheived.
Upon entering Employ Milwaukee, Charles met with agency Reentry Services Manager Wylbur Holloway and Reentry Sector Specialist Frederick Nelson, along with Employ Milwaukee partner Wisconsin Community Services (WCS) Job Account Rep/ Job Developer Leslye Love, to find out what opportunities would be available. So much had changed since Charles was first incarcerated back in 1999; the emergence of iPhone and other smartphones, extreme advances in computer technology power and capabilities, along with a changed built environment and landscape in many neighborhoods.
The Employ Milwaukee Reentry Services team, coupled with Ms. Love, worked with Charles to draft and shore up his resume, provide digital literacy assistance and connect him with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and other employer partners to explore training and employment opportunities. Charles is grateful for Employ Milwaukee and the agency's efforts to help him secure employment with a local manufacturing company. He stated, "At Employ Milwaukee the people understand you on all levels of life. They don't judge you, they help you to finish."
When asked what words of advice he'd give to other formerly incarcerated individuals looking to reestablish themselves in society having reflected on those who have helped him along his journey both while locked up and since he's been free, Charles stated, "Trust in yourself and trust in people. There is help out there and there are still people out there who are willing to help you regardless of what you've done."