Employment and Recidivism

The US has the highest population of incarcerated individuals in the world and recidivism greatly impacts these numbers. The more people who return to prison after an unsuccessful attempt at reform and integration into society, the worse the overcrowding becomes. Failure to integrate not only negatively impacts society, it also negatively impacts individuals who fall deeper into a cycle of despair, hostility and resistance. Projects like CMC Workforce work to change that dynamic. CMC Workforce and the Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) we work with believe a majority of offenders returning to society have a much better chance at success if they are provided what they previously had been denied: education, a definite path forward and a career that leads upward, out of poverty. We also believe that support must continue beyond initial employment, as many of our trainees require assistance in navigating how to manage success long term.

We seek to interrupt the cycle of institutionalization, lack of direction and learned helplessness that too many previously incarcerated individuals experience.

Learned helplessness is a clinical psychological phenomenon in which repeated exposure to uncontrollable stressers results in individuals failing to use any control options that may later become available. Read more here. Repeated experiences, through over crowded streets, schools and various programs, bolster this feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, resulting in an adult who ultimately believes that there is nothing to be done to change his or her situation. Institutionalization and lack of direction are a consequence of learned helplessness, as are low self esteem, passivity and frustration, often leading to physical outbursts.

In order to interrupt that downward cycle, CMC Workforce and their partner CBO’s seek to build an individual up by helping them create a strong foundation from which they can launch into a successful career. It begins with the individual. Success requires that the individual seeks to make a real change in their situation and fully commits to doing everything and anything required to make that change. To this end, we require an individual demonstrate their commitment and desire to make real change in their lives. Students who show a desire and aptitude for a construction career have to run a gauntlet of interviews, information sessions, a four week pre-apprenticeship workshop and a four week trial run with an employer BEFORE they are officially accepted into the Apprenticeship Program. If a student is dedicated and shows a willingness to work, improve themselves and take responsibility for their own success, they are then admitted into the CMC Workforce Program.

This slow and intensive approach to rehabilitation allows the individual to build a solid foundation, with the help of the CBO’s and CMC, that they are responsible for and can be proud of. It gives them the time and space to not only learn the trade they have chosen, but also gives them time to slowly change their outlook and realize that their own potential is nearly limitless.

One step, one accomplishment at a time, positively celebrating each hard one step forward, they come to realize that they are the authors of their own story and are truly no longer helpless to the whims of fate or others in their lives. This allows them to step out of the cycle of learned helplessness in which they had been trapped. It is our commitment and path to assisting previously incarcerated people to build lives and careers that not only take them out of the negative cycle of despair, but to also give them a solid foundation on which to build a career - not just a job. From there, they are free to accomplish even more in their lives. A solid foundation for their families, a break in the cycle of negativity that will allow their next generation to climb even higher. Not only a step out of a psychologically negative cycle, but a whole new dynamic trajectory that will take them (and their children) further up into a successful career and life.

CMC Workforce strives to enable nontraditional and economically disadvantaged individuals to enter and advance in the construction industry via CMC’s unique focused Certified Apprenticeship Programs.

While we welcome all qualified applicants seeking to be trained for jobs in construction with NYC, what makes us unique is that we focus on providing Apprenticeship Training for people’s re-entering society, including:

Homeless persons

Previously incarcerated persons

Non traditional learners

Under served Populations


Donate now and help outfit our new classroom in East Harlem.

A donation of $150 covers the cost of text books.

A donation of $250 covers the cost of one students supplies.

A donation of $500 covers a single complete set of power tools.

A donation of $1,000 covers 1/2 of the classrooms technology needs.

Any and ALL amounts contribute to the possibility of increasing these students earning potential by 30-50% which will break the cycle of poverty and reducing recidivism rates.

Donate now and share widely with friends and family.

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