California Model, California Prison Industry Authority, Rehabilitation

Incarcerated individuals secure state job offers

Incarcerated job seeker with two advisers at a hiring event at Sierra Conservation Center.
SCC hosted a Prison to Employment Civil Service Hiring Event for incarcerated people to secure job offers before they return to their communities.

Civil Service Hiring Event is part of Prison to Employment effort

A third hiring event organized by multiple state agencies has proven successful for incarcerated job seekers at Sierra Conservation Center (SCC).

Before returning to their communities, the event helps incarcerated individuals qualify for state jobs at California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

In total, 31 incarcerated individuals have received conditional job offers from the hiring events held at the following:

  • California State Prison, Solano, in 2019
  • Central California Women’s Facility in 2021
  • and SCC in 2023.

Representatives from the following organizations participated in the Civil Service Workgroup:

  • California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA)
  • CDCR
  • Caltrans
  • California Government Operations Agency (GovOps)
  • California Department of Human Resources (CalHR)
  • and the California Workforce Development Board

Preparing people for smoother reentry

CALPIA General Manager Bill Davidson said these events are rewarding for everyone involved.

“CALPIA is one of multiple state agencies coming together to improve the lives of incarcerated individuals,” said Davidson. “These hiring events thrive through partnerships. It is rewarding to see individuals find employment when they are about to leave prison.”

Incarcerated individuals are taught the process of getting a state job which includes participants taking the entry-level Highway Maintenance Worker exam.

“The Prison to Employment (P2E) Civil Service Hiring Event creates many other important skills to finding meaningful employment,” said Rusty Bechtold, CALPIA’s Assistant General Manager of Workforce Development. “The hiring event allows the participants to practice and learn an entire employment process from beginning to end for any civil service job they may apply for upon release.”

How the process works

Hiring Event organizers first hold an informational meeting at the prison to answer questions from the incarcerated population. The second meeting introduces participants to computers and how to use a computer to create a CalCareer account. They are also taught how to complete a state application. The third meeting is when the interviews are held.

“Caltrans is honored to have joined another Prison to Employment Hiring event with CALPIA. Our hiring managers were impressed by the candidates and look forward to offering more job opportunities in the future,” said Caltrans Deputy Division Chief Tom Hicks. “We plan to participate annually and aim to collaborate with the Department of Motor Vehicles to assist candidates in obtaining their Driver’s Licenses. We hope the knowledge gained will encourage incarcerated individuals to pursue civil service roles, especially at Caltrans, post-release.”

The Highway Maintenance Worker positions for Caltrans have been hard to fill entry-level positions for the State. Hiring Event organizers say this helps fill a gap in the workforce which benefits all of California.

Building inclusion for incarcerated during reentry

Joe Flores, who is the Lead Representative for Reentry Initiatives for the California Workforce Development Board, said when multiple state agencies and departments come together for the greater good, positive results take place.

“Through this coordinated partnership, we continue to build an inclusive path for incarcerated individuals to find quality post-release jobs,” said Flores. “We want these individuals to be successful when they leave prison, it is not only a win for them, but for the entire State of California.”

Submitted by Michele Kane, Assistant General Manager, External Affairs
California Prison Industry Authority

Read more rehabilitation stories.

Follow CALPIA on Facebook.

Follow CDCR on YouTubeFacebook and Twitter.