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Makin' It Work

Soft Skills for Returning Citizens

The 10-session Makin' It Work program targets individuals in transition from various correctional environments (prison, jail, residential re-entry, probation/parole) to community and the world of work. 

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 6.9 million people were on probation, in jail or prison at the end of 2010.   Other sources note that least 95% of all State prisoners will be released from prison at some point, and 67.5% are likely to be rearrested within 3 years.


Long-term employment in a job earning a living wage is the single greatest deterrent to recidivism, but many people who have been incarcerated are poorly prepared with the prosocial attitudes and interpersonal skills employers demand. As a result many quit or are fired from otherwise good job placements, even though they may have the vocational or technical skills to succeed. 


Through structured guided group discussion, benign confrontation, targeted role plays, and thought-provoking stories and activities, the Makin' It Work program challenges participants to examine how their own attitudes and perceptions have justified a tendency toward harmful or illegal behaviors. They then explore the hidden code of conduct employers expect good workers to understand, and practice valuable new communication and problem solving skills to handle difficult situations (such as dealing with criticism and expressing complaints) in an appropriate, professional manner.

Red Wall & Stairs

Makin' Table of Contents


"Makin' It Work" targets currently- or formerly-incarcerated individuals preparing for the community and the workplace.  It helps them understand their own self-defeating "thinking traps" and gain insights into employer expectations in the workplace.  It then teaches interpersonal skills needed to handle difficult workplace situations in a professional manner.

Lesson 1 Challenge of Change
Lesson 2 Thinking Traps  
Lesson 3 Hidden Code of Work

Lesson 4 Warning Signs
Lesson 5 Stop and Think 

Lesson 6 Defining the Problem & Goal
Lesson 7 Gaining Information & Insight
Lesson 8 Considering Choices & Consequences 

Lesson 9 Making Complaints 
Lesson 10 Dealing With Criticism
Makin WB Cover.jpg


2-page summary of the Makin' It Work program, including a rational, detailed outline, and contact information.

Full, watermarked sample of the Makin' It Work workbook. (May not be used in training.)

Comparison chart highlighting the differences between the various programs.

Red Wall & Stairs


What Participants and Colleagues Have Said

"These skills are vital to being a reasonable person who functions in society.”    

J.G., Makin' It Work participant
CA Bureau of Prisons Facility -Terminal Island

“The workshop was absolutely wonderful. I don’t normally enjoy group activities, but I loved all the activities we did. I learned a lot about myself and the other people in the seminar.”

T. Hardy
Escambia Community Services  Pensacola, FL

"I have learned allot (sic) about myself. How I have negative thinking traps that I didn't know I had. I learned new skills to deal with life in a more positive way. I hope this class was the start of me making better choices and communicate better with my bosses, friends, family and community. This class is a valuable class in the jail, thanks for all the information."

C.C., Makin' It Work participant
Yakima County Jail, Yakima, WA

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