Incarceration to Employment: Leveraging this Skilled Workforce

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

For this seminar, the Minnesota State Engineering Center of Excellence was excited to be working with the Minnesota Department of Corrections and DEED to share general information about the incarcerated population. They highlighted the general programming and education opportunities within facilities for workforce (and life) preparation. Finally, shared ways to help employers understand the benefits available and ways to attain this skilled workforce.

Featured Speakers

Jeremiah Carter | Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)

Jeremiah Carter, Job Services Supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Jeremiah has over 18 years of experience in Justice-Involved re-entry services, working in roles such as a Re-Entry Employment Support Consultant, Re-entry Services Case Manager, Parenting Group Facilitator, and Mentor Program Coordinator. Jeremiah also provided pre and post-release services to Justice-Involved Individuals through the DOC’s, Opportunity 4 Change program, and New Leaf Workshops offered at Careerforce locations statewide.

JoAnn Brown | Minnesota Department of Corrections

JoAnn Brown, a native of Saint Paul, MN, started her career in corrections in 2007 when she joined the DOC MINNCOR Industries team as a Workforce Development Specialist for the EMPLOY Program. While in this capacity, she assisted qualified industry workers with job search techniques pre and post-release. JoAnn developed and implemented a job search training curriculum to program participants and facilitated the curriculum within the Minnesota Correctional Facilities. In 2011, JoAnn was promoted to Supervisor of the EMPLOY Program. Under her leadership, the program increased its eligibility criteria to include education, food services, Prison Fellowship Academy, and Institution Community Work Crew programs to reach additional interested candidates. The program maintained a post rerelease employment rate of 70-75% or better on a quarterly basis and provided services to over 6,000 participants during the operation of the program. In 2020, JoAnn transition into the DOC Community Reentry Unit as the Employment Services Supervisor. Currently, she is directing services for the “Employment Matters!” grant in Saint Cloud, Shakopee, and Faribault and is the DOC liaison for two community partner programs that were awarded DOL Pathway Home Funding which offers support for job search, training for obtaining industry-recognized credentials, and employer connection to eligible participants pre and post-release. Furthermore, JoAnn is participating in the implementation of Person Center focus within the DOC and was co-chair of the Transformative Program workgroup. JoAnn presently leads DOC efforts in developing employer relationships and challenging employers to redefine hiring practices when considering justice-involved individuals to fulfill workforce needs. JoAnn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Winona State University, is a certified Offender Workforce Development Specialist Lead Instructor, a CPC Assessor, and previously was certified as a Global Career Development Facilitator.

Kelley Heifort | Minnesota Department of Corrections

Kelley Heifort has worked in the field of corrections for 29 years. Her experiences include working in a multitude of settings including prison facilities, community corrections residential programs, and substance use treatment. Ms. Heifort’s career focus with the MN DOC has been reentry programming, specifically in the development and coordination of pre and post-release services and initiatives. Ms. Heifort currently serves as MN DOC’s Reentry Services Director to provide leadership and oversight to the Department’s Evidence-Based Practices, Work Release, Facility Transition, and Community Stability Services Units. A critical part of this work is implementing employment strategies and increasing job readiness with criminal justice populations. Her team’s mantra is that every person has the support and services needed to be successful in communities. They endeavor to lead the development and coordination of best practices in making this happen.

Ray Ades | Minnesota Correctional Facility, Faribault

Ray Ades is an Education Director at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Faribault. He began his corrections career as a substitute Career Technical instructor in the late 1990’s. Later, he joined the faculty as an Adult Basic Education instructor. Since 2019 Ray has directed Faribault’s post-secondary educational programs including both Career Technical and Higher Education. Ray earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, majoring in Agricultural Education. Later, he completed an MDiv at Bethel Theological Seminary and an Ed. Specialist degree at the University of Minnesota, Moorhead. He also completed his EdD in Educational Leadership at Moorhead. Ray lives near Faribault Minnesota with his wife Kathryn. His work history includes years of classroom teaching at the primary, secondary, adult basic and college levels. He retired as a Lieutenant colonel from the United States Army Reserve.

Presentations Slides

Download the PDF of Incarceration to Employment: Leveraging this Skilled Workforce Presentation here! 

Seminar Partners