New video program teaches Clark County inmates job search skills

A local nonprofit that produces television programming for the Clark County Jail is airing a 16-episode series geared towards teaching inmates the skills they need to enter the workforce.

The 15-minute episodes focuses on the development of soft skills, resume building and tips on how to impress employers during job interviews. The series will be aired inside the jail four days a week.

It is the result of a partnership between Keyvision TV —which airs about 2,300 hours of programming annually, including some original content— and First Diversity Staffing, a temp agency with offices in Springfield.

Keyvision shot the videos, which include a mixture of info graphics, employment tips and some work-scenario sketches. Members of First Diversity starred in the videos, came up with scripts and provided statistics used in the videos. The end of each episode includes a portion that addresses any questions inmates may have, said Jasmine Milum, a digital marketing specialist with First Diversity.

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Milum, who is featured in some of the episodes, said each video deals with specific steps in the job application process as well as how to properly use social media and how inmates can better market themselves to potential employers.

Tony Bailey, the director of the Clark County Jail Chaplaincy, said inspirational messages are sprinkled throughout the series. The founder of Keyvision, he said the videos are designed to help inmates readjust to the outside world once they are released.

“You have a population in need,” Bailey said. He added that the videos also talk about the importance of change and not only how to get a job but how to keep one as well.

The chaplaincy isn’t employed by the jail but works in partnership with it, Bailey said. The organization’s goal is to build trust, cultivate change and hopefully find a new path for inmates. Keyvision hopes to continue that message through its programming, he added.

His nonprofit has a production studio across the street from the jail on North Fountain Ave., and streams educational programming for inmates. Episodes geared towards job development will be aired throughout the jail twice a day, Bailey added.

Bailey said the average stay for inmates is around 30 days and the goal is to air the entire series, focused on workforce development, each month. Keyvision runs primarily on private donations and on a few grants awarded in the past. The 16-episode project cost $20,000 to make using donations collected by the nonprofit as well as $7,000 coming from First Diversity, Bailey said.

Amy Donahoe, director of Workforce Development with the Chamber of Greater Springfield, said employers in the area are starting to look at those formerly incarcerated as potential candidates. The shift is primarily due to a smaller pull of applicants as the county has seen low unemployment rates over the past year.

“We have populations that may have not been considered for work in the past that are very viable candidates,” she said.

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Last year, Keyvision teamed up with a local recovery coach to shoot a series of episodes geared towards helping inmates recover from drug addiction. Episodes were accompanied with a packet, in which inmates could jot down thoughts about the program as well as their life goals. Bailey said over 150 inmates participated.

Bailey said the goal now is to slowly build up Keyvision’s funding to churn out more original content that addresses a wide range of issues facing the jail’s population as well as provide a message of hope to inmates.

He said that content would run in conjunction with other educational programming currently being shown to inmates.

“I’ve been told by deputies that after the programming they see a positive effect on inmates,” he said. “We have seen after some of these shows, that there is a calmness and a peacefulness in inmate attitudes towards each other.”

Bailey said he wants to see how inmates respond to the new series focused on employment skills. He said he is talking with jail officials, representatives with the chamber and Clark State to see how they can further reach and educate inmates.

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