Re-entry Fair for female ex-offenders - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Re-entry Fair for female ex-offenders

Source: WOIO Source: WOIO
Source: WOIO Source: WOIO
Source: WOIO Source: WOIO
Source: WOIO Source: WOIO

It's a tough position to be in, even tougher if you're a woman. Get out of jail or prison and start your life over. That's why a first of its kind program held today at Cuyahoga Community College in downtown Cleveland, is not only trying to find these women a job but find them a future.

It was called a Re-Entry Fair for Female Ex-offenders. This program sponsored by Tri-C and Covenant Outreach Through Advocacy and Agency Networking (COTAAN) is looking to help these women get transitioned back into society. Women like Miriam Grady who spent two years in prison for attempted murder in 2002.

"There's that stigma that once an offender always an offender," explains Grady. "Employers don't want to take a chance."

"You paid your debt to society?" 19 Action News Reporter Dan DeRoos asked Grady.

 "Yes, exactly but you've got to pay it over and over and over again."

Grandy has been in the workforce for a while but with this program she will hopefully be able to find something better but it's not just about getting a job.

"It's for women. There's a lot of programs out there for men but very few for women and we're people too. We're not looking for sympathy we're looking for empathy and direction," pleaded Grandy.

The goal is about getting these women on the right track both personally and professionally. So it not only teaches them skills like resume writing, but also how to deal with anger and stress which may have gotten them here in the first place.  

"It's almost like learning how to walk, learning how to think, learning how to talk all over again. It's a rehabilitation of sorts," explains Pastor Chris Smith, Executive Director of COTAAN.

For some of the women in the program they said it's the simple feeling that somebody cares. That's why they were here, completed this training and while they'll continue to work in the future. 

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