We support central Iowans returning from prison.

Launched in fall 2018, CIRCA has assisted 205 individuals at four locations to help them connect with employment, housing, and other services in the community. 

Of those enrolled:  

  • 85% completed training
  • 89% attained credentials
  • 75% were employed in their follow-up year
  • The average hourly wage was $13.21
  • 45.24% of participants retained employment with the same employer during their follow-up year

The goal of the project is to reduce the number of returning citizens who commit another crime to less than 20 percent, compared with the average recidivism rate of 35 percent. 8% of those in the CIRCA program reoffended during follow-up year.

The locations we work with are:

  • Iowa Correctional Facility for Women in Mitchellville
  • Newton Correctional Facility
  • Fresh Start Women's Center
  • Fort Des Moines Community Correction Center

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Workforce partnerships include representatives from other organizations in your industry who meet on a monthly basis to discuss common workforce priorities and needs in the industry, which can lead to new training opportunities for workers.

“This grant is a major opportunity to help employers connect with skilled workers who can fill needed jobs, in addition to helping those returning from prison receive greater support so they can successfully re-enter our community. We are looking forward to working with many partners to greatly expand our efforts in this area as a key strategy to help more families achieve financial stability.” - Mary Sellers, President, United Way of Central Iowa

The project will work with individuals in the following ways: 

  • Support in securing a job, with a focus on connecting people to jobs in construction, retail and food service, transportation distribution and logistics, and health care

  • Access to additional education and training as needed

  • Personal development training

  • Legal assessment and some additional support for legal issues

  • Case management to work through challenges based on a successful model in Texas

Why it's needed

Each year, 5,000 citizens return to Iowa after serving time in state prisons. One year after release, 60 percent of people convicted of a crime are not employed, according to the National Institute of Justice, which can lead to additional issues. Most people released from prisons are re-arrested within three years, and 70 percent of children with an incarcerated parent will follow in their parent’s footsteps.

Our Partners

The U.S. Department of Labor is providing all of the funding for the project through a $1.8 million grant. Learn about the project and view our other partners here

Our Staff

Kelly Burke, CIRCA Program Manager 

Brett Reyes, Reintegration Specialist