Navigating the Workforce After Incarceration

Navigating the Workforce After Incarceration


The simple need for a cell phone was what prompted Tammara’s initial visit to The Fortune Society. Unfamiliar with all of Fortune’s programs and services, she was initially hesitant to explore further. However, the warm reception she received from the Fortune staff members quickly made her comfortable, and she began to feel a sense of belonging within the community. 

During her intake, Tammara expressed interest in connecting with different job opportunities. However, she quickly realized that she should brush up on some skills before beginning her job search. She decided to enroll in the Job Readiness workshop with Employment Services.    

During the Job Readiness workshop, Tammara honed her interview skills and mastered the art of crafting a compelling resume. She also developed a concise one-minute elevator pitch, a tool that proved invaluable during her interviews and networking sessions.

"When it came to questions like, 'Tell me about yourself?' I would always feel stuck," Tammara shared. "But I gained so much confidence to know what to say and how to market myself. Our facilitator would always answer any questions. She made sure we all embodied confidence."

After graduating from the program, Tammara applied for Fortune’s Bloomberg Fellowship. She was hired as one of six Fellows and works closely with a partner overseeing projects at the Bloomberg buildings. She reflects on her time in the Job Readiness workshop and is grateful to have established habits that set her up for success in her career.   

“After 16 years, I’m back in the workforce again, and, luckily, I had experience from the workshop. I had to get up and get dressed to look professional. In my Fellowship now, I show up 20 to 30 minutes early every day.”   

Each morning, Tammara enters the building and swipes in with her Bloomberg ID. She often grabs breakfast and will spend some time chatting with the other Bloomberg employees. She shared that, as a Fellow, she is treated the same as anyone else. While she still holds some anxiety about adjusting to the workforce after incarceration, she’s found confidence in her abilities that continues to grow.  

“I sometimes wonder if I fit in, but no one looks at me differently. It feels good to fit into the corporate world, and to just login to my computer like everyone else, or to clock in and out like everyone else. It feels great to know that this is my life.”   

While at Fortune, Tammara also participated in several Digital Equity classes. She had some foundational tech knowledge from navigating a desktop computer but needed assistance using more advanced programs. She learned how to navigate Microsoft programs, and this knowledge has aided her work as a Bloomberg Fellow.   

Tammara developed a presentation detailing the impact of her project at Bloomberg using both PowerPoint and Excel. She was able to reflect on what she learned from the Digital Equity classes while creating the presentation and felt confident when presenting her work.

As a Bloomberg Fellow, Tammara also has access to numerous online courses for certifications. Once the Fellowship concludes, Tammara will have obtained specific certifications that will boost her resume and further her career success. 

Since connecting with Fortune, Tammara’s confidence has soared. She is determined to make the most of the resources available to her, and she attributes her success to the Fortune staff members who welcomed her on her first day. She expresses deep gratitude for the strong support system she has found, which she can rely on as she navigates the next steps of her career.     

"Fortune really built me up and gave me all the skills I needed. I have so many tools in my tool belt that I can utilize in my day to day. I feel like I know how to navigate the world now."

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