Ready for Work


19 Making the Most of Second Chances with Guest Shelly Jacobs

Season 1, Ep. 19

The Missouri Department of Corrections’ reentry program is equipping returning citizens with career credentials, barrier removal supports, and the WorkKeys NCRC. Reentry Coordinator Shelly Jacobs joins us to share the impact on their workforce.

As employers across the nation are expanding their outreach efforts in search of a dedicated workforce, the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) has developed new ways to prepare returning citizens for steady employment upon release. Since implementing the reentry program two years ago, Missouri’s prison population has decreased by 7,000 individuals—a shift that Shelly Jacobs, a reentry coordinator with the Missouri DOC, believes is an encouraging sign for the future. 


With approximately 19,000 men and women released from prison each year in the state of Missouri, reentry programs are vital to building up credentials and reinforcing basic skills. Administering ACT® WorkKeys® Assessments and giving them the chance to earn their ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate® (NCRC®), says Jacobs, is the best way to represent the prison population as a viable workforce opportunity.  

“These men and women have got the skills,” Jacobs shares. “They just need that second chance. So the NCRC is proof to these employers that these people do have basic skills that, really, can be valuable in any position, regardless of the position.” 

Join us as we learn more about the exciting ways that prison reentry programs are changing today’s economic landscape, and how Missouri’s prison population may yet be the next professional development network.  

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Jasen Jones Twitter:  @JasenCJones

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Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC)

ACT® WorkKeys® Assessments

ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate® (NCRC®)

ACT Work Ready Communities  

ACT Workforce Solutions 

More Episodes


27 - Joplin's Road to Recovery as a Work Ready Community - Ten Years After Devastating Tornado Disaster

Season 2, Ep. 27
One of the nation's deadliest tornados struck Joplin, Missouri ten years ago this week.On episode 27 of Ready for Work, we take a closer look at Joplin's recovery through the lens of the workforce ecosystem and the nation's first ACT-certified Work Ready Community.A recurring theme is the priceless value of partnership connectivity and innovation.The workforce ecosystem was fortunate to have integrated partnerships with education and economic development that helped respond directly to the needs and urgency required.Check out interviews with a few of those partners, such as Dave Rockers from Franklin Technology Center, Julie Gibson, a former state workforce development director, and Rob O’Brian, the developer at the helm of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce during the recovery effort.This edition showcases clips from participants and leaders in Joplin's Disaster Recovery Jobs Program.Guests and Featured ResourcesRob O’Brian, O’Brian and Associates, former President of the Joplin Area Chamber of CommerceDave Rockers, Director, Franklin Technology CenterJulie Gibson, GPS Impact, former director of Missouri Workforce DevelopmentCitizens Advisory Recovery TeamSouthwest Missouri Workforce BoardACT Press Release on Joplin Tornado 10th AnniversaryDisaster Recovery Jobs Program Statewide Video JournalDisaster Recovery and Resiliency Series – Ready for Work PodcastResiliency Toolkit and Disaster Recovery Resources from ACTACT Work Ready Communities