Our office knows that if you can increase your education or vocational training, your chances of gaining meaningful employment toward a career with good pay, benefits, fulfillment, and advancement are greatly enhanced. It really helps your confidence, quality of relationships, and overall life success too. The information, guidance, links, resources, and contacts listed here are intended to help you achieve those goals.
Three areas of need and opportunity include Basic Education (Adult Literacy and GED), Vocational/Technical Training, and Higher Education at a local college, university, or career school. Additionally, you will find Local Schools, National Resources, and Financial Aid information.
Another great resource for ex-offenders is the 2010 Reentry Resource Guide on Education Planning: Back to School: A Guide for Continuing Your Education after Prison, a resource guide for individuals leaving prison interested in furthering their education upon release (John Jay College-Prisoner Reentry Institute) which was funded by the U.S. Department of Education). This includes vocation training options, adult basic education materials, and college information from planning, completion, to funding.
The National HIRE Network has advocated for years now for policy and law change that breaks down barriers to education, training, and employment for those with criminal records, substance abuse history, AIDs, etc. Their 2008 National Reentry Blueprint document is an informative and powerful tool for their advocacy and opportunity goals.
Basic Education (Adult Literacy, Adult Basic Education, GED, etc.)
Literacy Foundation (Do you want to learn to read, improve your reading skills, get your GED® Certificate, or learn English? Get started now. To find a helpful program near you, choose the type of service you need and then search by either your city/state OR your zip code)
National Literacy Directory (Literacy Programs by location)
Additional details of how to prepare for, complete, and get your certificate for the GED in Tennessee are available directly from the Tennessee Education Agency.
Information and steps to get your GED Certificate from BOP after release can be found at this link.
Listing of Vocational Training Programs in Tennessee
Eligibility and process to qualify (physical. or mental disability) for vocation rehabilitation/training services through the Tennessee Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)
The more education you get, the more likely it is you will always have a job. KnowHow2GO provides middle schoolers with adults extensive information on the value of continuing education after high school, how to prepare for college, the myths vs. realities about college, and the availability of financial aid for college. In addition, the KnowHow2GO website provides resources for information on counseling, academics, and financial aid that is available within your state or territory.
Information on Tennessee Promise.
Search for a local college through the national college navigator maintained by the Institute for Education Sciences.
You can find a list of Tennessee 2 year Community College or Technical Schools here (search by location and type)
Here's the U.S. Department of Education's list of accredited post-secondary institutions, colleges, and programs.
The CareerOneStop.org site holds a clearinghouse of information and weblinks to sources of financial aid, grants, and scholarships for higher education funding.
Tennessee Reconnect website for higher education planning and financing.
Additionally, this site from the Tennessee Workforce Development provides exhaustive information and hyperlinks for planning, selecting, and funding for college or a career school.
Also, here's a great resource about rights and discrimination protections for ex-offenders pursuing public financial aid for education provided by the National Reentry Resource Center.