"I’ve learned a lot, I’ve learned A LOT of valuable stuff. They helped me get a great job, now I’m doing well.”
Jeff joined the Central Iowa Returning Citizens Achieve (CIRCA) construction cohort at Fort Des Moines as the oldest member, and perhaps the most determined.
Jeff’s parole officer urged him to find a job as soon as possible after graduation so that he would be able to be released from Fort Des Moines. From the construction classes, Jeff learned OSHA safety rules and hand tool skills that he was able to use to obtain a job at Katecho earning $9 per hour. He saved the money he earned to pay his rent at Fort Des Moines and buy a car. Once Jeff was working and satisfying the requirements of his parole, he worked closely with his CIRCA case manager, Julianna, to start working on his personal goals. Goal number one was to find higher paying employment. Julianna and Jeff worked together to send out resumes that highlighted Jeff’s skills and Jeff interviewed at several locations. He never gave up even when rejected for his criminal history. After two months, Jeff was hired at ADM in Des Moines as a material handler earning $17.00 with full benefits. Jeff was released from Fort Des Moines and went to live with his daughter and his family while he continued to save. After months of hard work and careful planning, Jeff was able to buy his own house! With his housing and transportation stable, the financial and emotional support of CIRCA and a strong personal work ethic, Jeff is in training for a promotion to machine operator. Within a few months we hope he’ll be promoted and continue to increase his skill and earnings with ADM over the rest of his career. Jeff says: “I made up my mind one day, I was going to fly right. I’m tired of going to jail and I have too much to live for. I was determined. CIRCA gave me an opportunity to do that. Basically, they paid me to go to class for six weeks and that took a lot of pressure off of me. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve learned A LOT of valuable stuff. They helped me get a great job, now I’m doing well.”
 The CIRCA program was awarded $1.5 million in 2018 through the Department of Labor’s Reentry Employment Opportunity funds.