In September 2017, CASES was selected through a competitive application process to join the Youth Reentry Network operated by Friends of Island Academy (Friends) and funded by the NYC Department of Correction (DOC). As part of this Network, CASES will provide employment-readiness services for young people age 17-21 returning from Rikers Island to Central Brooklyn and the surrounding neighborhoods. CASES will specifically engage these youth in our Jobs for America’s Graduates New York (JAG NY) program, providing up to 18 months of employment-readiness, education, and job placement services.
Founded in 1990 by a collaboration of education/social service staff on Rikers and community-based advocates, Friends seeks to address the recidivism rates, untapped potential, and disproportionate confinement of youth of color who attend school on Rikers Island. Friends operates a range of programs both on Rikers Island and in the community to improve outcomes for youth during and after their time in New York City jails. Over the past 14 months, Friends has sought partners to realize their vision for a citywide, service-rich Youth Reentry Network.
As a new member of the Youth Reentry Network, CASES provides outreach and recruitment services at Rikers Island to facilitate the rapid engagement of youth upon release from jail in our JAG NY program. This program provides services one day per week in CASES’ Bedford-Stuyvesant office and four days a week at our offices in Downtown Brooklyn. Specific JAG NY services include high school equivalency exam prep classes and testing, and employment-readiness workshops guided by JAG’s out-of-school curriculum promoting the development of hard and soft skills in 20 employability competencies organized in six categories: career development, job attainment, job survival, basic skills, leadership and self-development, and personal skills. The program, which lasts up to 18 months, includes ongoing job placement services and/or support for successfully navigating admission, enrollment, and retention in college. Providing these services to at-risk youth with a history of detention at Rikers Island will help ensure these young people have the economic opportunities and social tools to break free from a cycle of recidivism.
CASES is proud to partner with Friends of Island Academy to provide Youth Reentry Network services to young people returning from Rikers Island to Central Brooklyn. This new program will expand CASES’ youth reentry services creating a direct pathway upon release to key educational and employment achievements.
To learn more about JAG NY or to refer a potential participant, please visit our website.