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Program to help formerly incarcerated get back into workforce expands to St. Augustine

Ready4Work offers classes and job coaching to place each client in the best career path for them.

Most of the formerly incarcerated clients at Operation New Hope's Ready4Work program say that they’re free, but they don’t actually feel that way. Instead, they’re overwhelmed with the idea of assimilating back into society.

That’s why the Ready4Work program is expanding its Jacksonville offices to serve more clients in St. Augustine. 

“So many clients that come out from the prison systems that have nowhere to go,”  said Joi Natbik, a case manager for Ready4Work.

The program wants to get those formerly behind bars back on their feet with confidence and the skills to succeed in the workforce and not end up back in the system.

Case managers like Natbik will meet with clients, “and see what their short term goals and long term goals will be,” she said, “immediately day one, they know we’d like to access their immediate needs.”

The program offers more than just classes to prepare the formerly incarcerated for the workforce. It also provides help with mental health, housing and clothing to make them successful.

“Clients have been incarcerated for 10-20 years, so they need the stability,” says Natbik.

Clients must complete 29 modules in four weeks to graduate. Then they meet their job coach to help them decide what they want to do and where they will be the most successful.

The first class at the St. Augustine location will be March 16. The clients will work on job etiquette, their mock interviews and their resumes.