Safer Foundation’s ACE program open house spotlighting second chances

News

Former inmates are getting help with a second chance are serving their time.

An open house was held Thursday to showcase one of the Safer Foundation’s newest efforts in the Quad Cities.

The Advancing Careers and Employment or ACE program started a year ago through a federal grant.

The goal is to help reduce the number of repeat offenders.

There are about 90 clients in the program. It provides offenders with job readiness training, helps them get schooling and placement into a career.

Sabra Rogers was the first client to end the program

She’s getting ready to finish college this fall and plans to start a small business with her partner next year.

“Programs and people to back us opening a bakery and so I’m super excited about that. That came through my work in the ACE program and being able to share my story. I’ve had people contact me and say hey, we do startups,” said Rogers.

Rogers credits the program with getting her this far. 

When her now two and a half-year-old daughter got sick and required treatment in Iowa City, ACE helped her to get scholarships so she could afford and continue with college.

Rogers went to prison as a teen and spent 20 years behind bars.

With the help of ACE, she’s adjusting to a world she didn’t recognize.

“It is more overwhelming than anything you will ever do in life. When I went in, Nintendo and pagers were the big thing. I came out to cell phones taking pictures and sending emails instead of snail mail and life moving at ten times the rate it did,” said Rogers.

The main focus of the ACE program is to land their clients a career, not just a job. The manager of the program told Local Four News, it’s more meaningful for their clients and helps them see further in the future.

Ace continues to follow up with their clients for nine months after the work placement.

“Just trying to make sure they’re retaining that job, what services do they need if they’re not being successful in their job, if they’re interested in getting promoted, what other training can we help you get in order to get you promoted in that position that we’ve placed you in,” said ACE Program Manager Angela Richardson. 

The current grant runs through 2020.

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