Women’s Resource Agency in Colorado Springs has won a grant for $100, 000 from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

The women’s agency will use the money to expand its El Paso County penal system program that offers services to female jail inmates.

For nearly 40 years, the nonprofit agency has helped “women of all ages attain and maintain self-sufficiency.”

WRA’s current program offers limited services to jail inmates, including training on resume writing, to give women a head start on job hunting once they are released.
Under the new “Motherhood Program: Strong Women/Strong Families,” the agency will use its existing connections with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department and Community Corrections, or ComCor, to increase its outreach and ability to assist mothers with a criminal history.

The agency will choose 50 to 80 women – who are incarcerated but expected to be released shortly –  to participate in small-group meetings and receive one-on-one coaching from job-readiness specialists.

These clients will learn how to fill out a job application, write a resume, use computer programs, practice interview techniques and other things to help them bridge the gap from incarceration to the workplace.

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Additionally, they will receive skills training, including customer service, front desk, receptionist and office support.

The agency’s clients also will have access to WRA’s free professional clothing boutique for interview and workplace outfits.

After being released, the women will join WRA’s regular employment services program. Last year, the agency assisted about 800 adult women with the skills and tools needed to gain and maintain employment, build careers and become self-sufficient.

“WRA has a welcoming attitude that focuses on helping women feel empowered, not disenfranchised, by their past,” said Beth Roalstad, executive director of the agency.