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A Second-Chance: Increasing Access for Justice-Involved Individuals

One essential need for individuals returning to our community from jail or prison

is employment. With Tennessee’s incarceration rates higher than the national average,

there is a great need to support individuals returning to our society.

On April 1, 2022, the Urban League of Middle Tennessee (ULMT) attended the

Second Chance Community Resource Fair, recognizing April as National Second

Chance Month. This Community Resource Fair, hosted by the Tennessee Department

of Labor and Workforce Development’s Office of Reentry (ORR), raised awareness of

the value of justice-involved individuals and their potential to re-energize the state’s


Second Chance Month - a designation given to highlight the importance of

access to education, jobs, housing, and other needs for adults with a criminal record - is

an opportunity to uplift the importance of assisting previously incarcerated people.

Governor Bill Lee, Commissioner Jeff McCord, and Entrepreneur Robert Sherrill were

just a few of the guests’ delivering supportive remarks at this inaugural event.

Yet, second-chance opportunities don’t stop with the resource fair or at the end of April.

At the core of second-chance employment is sustainable workforce development.

The ULMT is committed to assisting everyone with sustainable employment. The

ULMT’s Workforce Development Training Program intends to help, enhance and upskill

participants to ensure they are qualified and competitive candidates when pursuing the

job application process. The ULMT has been able to continuously assist individuals in

acquiring career training and securing employment through the long-standing

relationship that the ULMT has with the Metro Nashville Sheriff’s Department.

Tennessee’s criminal and juvenile justice systems are committed to providing

meaningful opportunities for rehabilitation and employment to justice-involved

individuals to reduce the state’s recidivism rate, which sits at a staggering 46% within

three years of release.

According to the Prison Fellowship, approximately 1 in every 3 Americans has a

criminal record. These individuals are significantly more likely to experience challenges

in achieving the social and economic resources needed to pursue a quality life. Thus,

programs like those developed by the ULMT are the key to ensuring everyone in our

community thrives with dignity.

Second chances give people opportunities beyond pay, including increased

skills, motivation, dignity, and options. Learn more about the ULMT’s Workforce

Development Training Program at



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