A group of men incarcerated at the Peoria County Jail completed the Jobs Partnership Re-Entry Program, which aims to help them find work upon release.
The employment training is part of a faith-based rehabilitation effort that also focuses on relationship building, communication and conflict resolution.
Gyrune Linwood Sr. was among the 28 graduates in the Sept. 3 ceremony.
“Some may say 8 weeks might not be enough for a person to change, but I beg to differ,” Linwood said. “This program focuses on the way a person thinks. If a person allows for the lessons to enter into the depths of their soul — the mere fiber of their being — and put forth the effort, change is inevitable.”
Sam Jones, who also completed the program, said it helped reshape his idea of community.
“I didn’t think that there were people out there who cared about me or my family,” Jones said. “I always told my family that it was us against the world and anything that we got, we would have to get on our own. But the members of Jobs Partnership showed me that I was telling a lie.”
The volunteer-run Jobs Partnership has served men in the Peoria County Jail since 2015. More than 200 have graduated. Services have been provided in other jails and Illinois Department of Corrections facilities since 2000.
Upon release, graduates have access to employment through various business partners, as well as connections to housing and local churches.
Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell also assured graduates they can use him as a reference on job applications.
Jobs Partnership Peoria received a $25,000 grant last year through the Charitable Trust Stabilization Program, an initiative of Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs’ office.