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Second Chance Program

Under the direction of Gov. Nikki Haley’s office, S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC) and the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) created the Second Chance initiative to help returning citizens learn a skill and understand how to successfully search for a job. By helping individuals prepare for employment, they gain confidence, purpose, and direction, reducing the recidivism rate. In order to participate in many of these programs, specific requirements must be met by the participant, including a disciplinary-free record and non-violent offenses for incarceration.

Started as a pilot project in a Columbia facility, the Second Chance program expanding to additional facilities. Through this initiative, DEW provides a full-time employee, coaching and materials to assist returning citizens in work-skills training. Ninety days prior to release, ex-offenders are taught employment and soft skills in class for one hour each day. During the last 30 days, participants work directly with a DEW counselor to become registered in the SC Works system, craft a resume and apply for jobs online once released.The skills they learn through the Second Chance Initiative help leverage the skills they’ve acquired through the work programs.

Participants in the Second Chance Initiative receive a folder at the time of release that includes a Federal Bonding letter, several copies of their resume, a letter of explanation that outlines their personal situation, information on the SC Works centers across the state and contact information for a case manager in their local SC Works center, and any other information or available resources relevant to that individual.

To become a second chance employer, contact Grey Parks at 803-737-0086 or via email at bparks@dew.sc.gov.


Giving a Second Chance

Watch the following video to learn more about the Second Chance program.


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Learn more about the federal bonding program here.

Learn about tax credits available to employers that hire returning citizens here.




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