Students in business professor Yorton Clark’s human resources class took their service-learning project to the Lansing Correctional Facility in Lansing, Kan., in the fall semester. The students presented financial training sessions to inmates scheduled to be released within six months. Using the FDIC Money Smart curriculum, ten training sessions were offered to 18 inmates in November 2011.
According to Clark, unemployment and financial difficulties are the two most common reasons for relapse into a life of crime. Since the re-entry program began, the recidivism (lapsing into life of crime) rate at the Lansing facility has dropped from 68% to 35%. MNU has been involved for the last five years.
“We are pleased to be a part of their success,” Clark says. “All parties involved have benefited.”
In previous years MNU students have taught interviewing, resume writing, and basic job skills to inmates in the program. Clark says in addition to valuable knowledge, the inmates gain a sense of confidence and personal value because “outsiders” show they care about their future success.
The experience is enriching for students who gain more knowledge in finance or job seeking, and confidence in their presentation skills. The opportunity to make a long-term impact on another’s life is another outcome students value.
“It was an amazing experience working with the inmates,” says Montez Willis, a senior business administration major. “I didn't look at them for what they had done, but for what they can become from here on. I truly believe that they felt appreciated because someone took the time to help them.”