Meet JB. He has been incarcerated for 25% of his life. JB's father has been incarcerated for 20 years and his brother is serving a life sentence. He came to ARIZONA@WORK after being released from prison a few months earlier. When asked what brought him in to seek services, JB stated that he needed assistance figuring out how to move forward with his life in a productive way while dealing with the transition from prison.
You see, JB and his wife were expecting twins in just a few months and he realized that he needed to be able to support his family and create stability for them. At the same time, he knew he needed to heal from a life filled with a lot of trauma.
Through the Workforce Development Youth Program, JB was offered and accepted counseling services to help him work on his mental health. This treatment not only offered JB a path toward healing, but it also served as an opportunity to demonstrate to his parole officer that he is taking his release seriously. He moved from his old neighborhood and moved on from his former ‘friends.’
JB grew up without the presence of a father and does not want the same thing for his children. He is very intent on breaking the generational cycle but will need additional support to make this happen. Through the Father Matters program, he will work with a mentor and receive the support that he needs in a way that is culturally relevant to him.
As of May 2022, JB is employed as an assistant HVAC technician and has a goal of applying for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant that covers the tuition to train for additional HVAC qualifications. The program he selected will allow him to learn remotely through videos four nights a week with one additional night spent in person, hands on, to practice the skills he learned through the video lessons.
When he walked into the ARIZONA@WORK location, JB was seeking direction, stability, and guidance. Now, as a result of his participation in the Youth Workforce program, JB has charted a path forward. He has access to education, employment, mental health, and family resources that serve as his network of support to help him manage the demands and stress of work, school, and parenting newborn twins.
JB’s story is just one of the many ways that the Workforce Development Division of the Maricopa County Human Services Department is making a meaningful difference in the lives of current, and future, county residents.
For more information on the programs and services available to youth and adult job seekers, as well as employers in Maricopa County, visit Maricopa.gov/WDD.