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Pathway 5: Reintegrating After Time in the Correctional System

There are few greater challenges than finding an employment path forward as a person with a disability who has completed his or her sentence in the correctional system. While nothing we can provide in this guide is going to make the process easy, there are some programs that can give you a greater chance of success in your life post-incarceration.

Reentry Programs

There are multiple reentry programs provided to people who are reentering society after serving a sentence in the correctional system, including:

Next Steps to Take for Employment

There are two additional touchpoints for adults with disabilities seeking employment services.

American Job Centers of California

AJCC provide employment services to all residents of California. AJCCs provide many services to job seekers, including but not limited to the following:

  • Job boards that provide current listings from local employers.
  • Free internet access, computers and other communications options.
  • Workshops on job hunting and resume building.
  • One-on-one mock interviews and free job training.
  • Job fairs and recruitment sessions.
  • Employment referrals
  • Assessments to help match you with a career path and career coaching.

Find the steps to take to receive assistance in Appendix E.

Vocational Rehabilitation System

The VR system provides specialized employment services for people with disabilities. In California, these services are provided by DOR, which will ask you to set a job goal and provide services to help you get there. This could include helping with accommodations, paying for additional education, creating a career development plan, job exploration, skills and self-advocacy training, and for job experience. See page 19 for details on how to apply for DOR services and refer to Appendix A for a list of all DOR offices in Los Angeles County. Per COVID-19 guidance, the first step is to contact your local office by phone.

DOR is often a good place to learn about reasonable accommodations to use in the workplace. The following organizations also can help you learn about the different types of accommodations and how to build a plan for your work environment:

  • Braille Institute of America: A nonprofit organization dedicated to meeting the unique needs of people with vision loss, the Braille Institute provides a range of free programs, services and learning experiences to thousands of students. The Institute has served more than 37,000 people and has locations throughout Southern California. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Braille Institute has switched to an all online service model. More information is available on their website: brailleinstitute.org/coronavirus.
  • California Council of the Blind: The council exists to advance the interests and protect the independence of blind and low-vision Californians. This membership-based organization has local branches in Glendale/Burbank, Greater Lakewood, Greater Long Beach, Greater Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, and San Gabriel Valley. Please see Appendix C for contact information for each of these chapters.
  • Center for Applied Rehabilitation Technology (CART) Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center: CART advances independent living for youth and adults with physical disabilities by connecting them with assistive technology, which can be a game changer to help people with disabilities better integrated into their communities and enter the workforce. Priority areas for CART include seating and mobility devices, AAC systems, software or hardware adaptations, EADLs, worksite evaluations as well as model homes that integrate assistive technology solutions. Services are eligible for individuals with physical disabilities as well as for people with multiple disabilities.
  • Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT): Funded by ODEP, PEAT builds collaboration and cooperation around ensuring the full accessibility of emerging technologies. These technologies help employers full embrace and capitalize on the knowledge, skills and insights of employees with disabilities. PEAT offers employer tools, resources on apprenticeship and working on key issues around the future of work.

The following organizations can provide you with assistive technology, which includes everything from braille printers and screen readers to voice recognition technology and control mice and the myriad of other tools that allow you to remain fully productive even with your newly acquired disability. Additional resources are available in Appendix I, including captioning services and ASL interpreters.

  • Braille Institute of America: A nonprofit organization dedicated to meeting the unique needs of people with vision loss, the Braille Institute provides a range of free programs, services and learning experiences to thousands of students. The Institute has served over 37,000 people and has locations throughout Southern California. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Braille Institute has switched to an all online service model. More information is available on their website: brailleinstitute.org/coronavirus.
  • California Council of the Blind: The council exists to advance the interests and protect the independence of blind and low-vision Californians. This membership-based organization has local branches in Glendale/Burbank, Greater Lakewood, Greater Long Beach, Greater Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, and San Gabriel Valley. Please see Appendix C for contact information for each of these chapters.
  • Center for Applied Rehabilitation Technology (CART) Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center: CART advances independent living for youth and adults with physical disabilities by connecting them with assistive technology, which can be a game changer to help people with disabilities better integrated into their communities and enter the workforce. Priority areas for CART include seating and mobility devices, AAC systems, software or hardware adaptations, EADLs, worksite evaluations as well as model homes that integrate assistive technology solutions. Services are eligible for individuals with physical disabilities as well as for people with multiple disabilities.
  • Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program (DDTP): DDTP, operated by the California Public Utilities Commission, ensures that Californians who are deaf or who are hard of hearing can have access to telecommunications technologies. DDTP is composed of CRS, which provides telephone relay support, and CTAP, which provides accessories for qualified individuals. Relay services are available in both English and Spanish. You can learn more about CRS on their website: https://ddtp.cpuc.ca.gov/default1.aspx?id=1482. To learn more about CTAP or apply for services, please visit https://californiaphones.org/apply-now.
  • EmpowerTech: EmpowerTech is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that helps people with physical and developmental disabilities use assistive technology to live their lives, integrate into their communities and succeed at their jobs. EmpowerTech matches individual needs to state-of-the-art software and the latest hardware solutions.

Other organizations also can help you learn new job-related skills and develop your resume and career plans. Here are just a few of them:

Check 211 for government resources provided in Los Angeles County and OnwardCA for government and nonprofit resources available for your individual needs.

Learning More About Your Disability

With the deficit of disability testing, you may have first learned about your disability later in life. As you plan your life, you may wish to know more about your particular disability. Appendix D provides some organizations targeted at particular disabilities.

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