Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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April is Second Chance Month, highlighting providing second chances to justice-involved individuals

Thursday, April 27, 2023

April is Second Chance Month, highlighting opportunities to provide second chances to justice-involved individuals

Learn more about WECA's past and current contributions to helping justice-involved individuals secure employment in the electrical industry

The United States Department of Justice recently proclaimed April 2023 as “Second Chance Month.” Second Chance Month works to ‘provide second chances to individuals who are currently or previously were incarcerated by the federal justice system. Executive clemency is a powerful tool that can alleviate barriers to reentry, in securing steady employment, safe housing, quality health care, educational opportunities, the right to vote, and loans for a home or business.’

Over the years, WECA has helped provide avenues of reentry for justice-involved individuals in California through our electrical industry education. Christine Hall, WECA’s Director of Operations, was recently reminded of WECA’s contributions to the justice-involved community through an email she received from J. Joe Roman, a former vocational electrical instructor at Centinela State Prison in Imperial, California.

In 2008, Roman reached out to and worked with Christine and WECA to register incarcerated vocational electrical students at Centinela State Prison into WECA’s Electrician Trainee Program. This project – contingent upon an individual’s release date and successful completion of the Electrician Trainee Program – ensured that individuals were legally able to work in the electrical trade and effectively transition back into society and into the electrical field upon their release.

“I know that many of my ex-inmate students successfully did well after serving time and recidivism with your electrical program,” says Roman.

Christine says “It reminds me that we don’t always see the impact that our collective efforts at WECA have on individuals, or even the impacts that our individual efforts have. I continue to be proud of our team, which cares so much about our members and students, and which strives to always improve. What a great impact our collective efforts have had on countless lives.”

The work continues to this day.

Diane Trotter, WECA’s Workforce Development Supervisor in California has connected with various organizations that serve the justice-involved population through events she regularly attends. Meanwhile, in Arizona, Heath Anderson, WECA’s new Outreach and Workforce Development Specialist, hopes to leverage his previous work with a Phoenix-area workforce development department’s justice-involved job preparation program, and with a workforce developer for a Phoenix-based organization that focuses on long-term employment stability for previously incarcerated individuals, to extend opportunities in our Arizona program to those seeking to make a change.

WECA is gratified that our electrical industry training helps provide second chances to justice-involved individuals in the areas we serve. Though Second Chance Month is concluding soon, WECA looks forward to continuing to find opportunities to educate justice-involved individuals in our communities who are ready to turn their lives around.