December 11 – Faith & Community Based Approaches to Transitional Employment Programs for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals

Faith & Community Based Approaches to Transitional Employment Programs for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals 

On Tuesday, December 11, 2012, at 2:00pm 0 3:00pm, the Department of Justice’s Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships invites you to participate in a webinar on the role of transitional employment programs for formerly incarcerated individuals. 

Webinar participants will learn more about the importance of transitional employment programs and how these programs impact the returning offender, their families, and the community. Panelists will discuss how faith-based and community organizations may become involved in this effort as well as identify promising practices for working with returning offenders, managing transitional employment programs, and engaging public and private partners.

The cost is free, but space is limited.  Register here. 


Kevin Gay, President and CEO of Operation New Hope, retired after serving 15 years in the for-profit business world as a corporate officer to focus on creating a new model for community development. In 1999, the model Kevin envisioned and created became Operation New Hope, a Jacksonville, Florida based Community Development Corporation (CDC) designed to restore blighted urban neighborhoods and citizens who were struggling with poverty’s trappings. Kevin’s work with Operation New Hope caught the attention of President George W. Bush in 2002, providing the opportunity for the organization to develop and pilot the Ready4Work program, a program aimed at assisting ex-offenders with reentering the community. 

Kevin’s leadership has solidified Operation New Hope and Ready4Work as a bedrock institution in Jacksonville and as a nationally respected CDC. In 2003, Kevin received the Neighborhoods USA award for his work with Operation New Hope. And in 2007, President Bill Clinton, in the book “Giving,” cited Kevin for his work with prisoner re-entry.

Kevin has served on more than 15 civic boards, including President-Elect Obama’s Transition Advisory Council. Kevin has also served on Florida’s Department of Corrections Prisoner Re-entry Advisory Board. He is a social entrepreneur and community leader with a deep commitment to addressing poverty through effective economic development initiatives. Kevin is a native of Jacksonville and a graduate of the University of Florida.

Julio Medina is the Executive Director and founder of Exodus Transitional Community, Inc., a comprehensive reentry program founded in 1999 in East Harlem. Under Julio’s leadership and vision, Exodus has served over 5,000 men and women and has become one the most renowned reentry programs in the country. Julio’s faith in formerly incarcerated men and women to help others in their transition is based on his own experiences and led to the creation of “walking through the wilderness”, Exodus’ signature orientation program for the recently released and holistic and national reentry model.

Exodus’s innovative programming has led to national recognition. Julio was first lady, Laura Bush’s guest at the 2004 State of the Union address when the President announced his $300 million Prisoner Reentry Initiative. Julio has been featured on C-Span, the New York Times, Daily News, NY Newsday, the Christian Science Monitor, CNN and MSNBC. Exodus Transitional Community was also the subject of a feature length PBS documentary, “The Hard Road Home”. Julio has received numerous awards for his work in the community, including the Union Square Award, the Urban Angels Award and the Freedom Fighter Award. In 2010, he was recognized by El Diario as one of NY’s most influential Latinos.

Julio holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Albany, and Masters of Divinity from New York Theological Seminary. He is a candidate for a doctorate of Ministry at the NY Theological Seminary.

Rami Nashashibi has served as the Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) since its incorporation as a nonprofit in January 1997. Rami has lectured across the United States, Europe, and Asia on a range of topics related to American Muslim identity, community activism, and social justice issues and is a recipient of several prestigious community service and organizing honors.

In 2007 Islamica Magazine profiled Rami as being among the “10 Young Muslim Visionaries Shaping Islam in America” and most recently Chicago Public Radio has selected Rami as one of the city’s Top Ten Chicago Global Visionaries. Rami was also named one of the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in concert with Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. He was named a White House “Champion of Change” in 2011 and was also invited by the governor of Illinois to serve on the Commission for the Elimination of Poverty and as a member of the Governor’s Muslim Advisory Council.

Rami has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago and has been an adjunct professor at various colleges and universities across the Chicago area, where he has taught a range of Sociology, Anthropology, and other Social Science courses.

Diane Williams was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Safer Foundation in February 1996. Safer Foundation is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit providers of employment placement and job readiness training exclusively targeting people with criminal records. Under her leadership, Safer Foundation has incorporated the “What Works” principles to evidence-based program design and evaluation. Under contract with the Illinois Department of Corrections, Safer manages two large adult transition centers totaling close to 600 beds. University research acknowledges the success of these programs through low recidivism rates-Safer’s clients who achieved 30 days of employment boast a 32.3 percentage point differential when compared with most recent Illinois State prison releases. In 2008, Safer was the recipient of the International Corrections and Prison Association’s Offender Management/Treatment and Reintegration Award. In 2011, Ms. Williams was the recipient of President Obama’s “Champion of Change” award.

Diane has over 20 years experience working with the criminal justice population and has served on the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board and in consulting roles for the U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Council of State Governments Reentry Initiative and the National Treatment Plan’s Criminal Justice Work Group/Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. She has served on the Governor’s Statewide Task Force on Reentry and is a member of the Governor’s Commission on Human Services, the Commission on the Elimination of Poverty and the Illinois Workforce Investment Board.

Diane has an undergraduate degree in Education and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

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