Our integrated post-release support program offers help in three key areas: education, employment, and emotional well-being through mental health & social services.
During their first day in the office, GOSO enrollees meet with a GOSO Career Manager (one of our Licensed Social Workers) to complete a resume, discuss short- and long-term reentry goals, and receive a full mental health evaluation and assistance with immediate social service needs. They also receive a Reentry Toolkit that includes an alarm clock, day planner, notepad and pens, MetroCard and subway map.
Every GOSO participant is assigned a Career Manager who who provides education and employment counseling, tracks his progress through the program and oversees delivery of services. In addition, Career Managers provide housing support and referrals, and assistance with IDs, Driver’s Licenses, Medicaid and Food Stamp registration. All GOSO Career Managers are Master’s Level Social Workers who on a day-to-day basis provide participants opportunities to explore positive and constructive ways of coping with the challenges of education, employment, family and peers.
GOSO is now the only reentry program in the city that exclusively employs Master’s Level mental health professionals as Career/Case Managers.
Career Managers work one-on-one with participants to evaluate their degree of job readiness, and help them research job prospects, submit online job applications, and prepare cover letters and resumes. Clients have unlimited access to computers, fax machines and phones, and receive MetroCards, appropriate clothing and haircuts for job interviews.
Our mentoring program carefully matches participants with trained volunteer mentors who share their interests and experiences. Mentors can provide the empathy, guidance and support participants need as they take on the many challenges of reentry. Mentor/mentees meet twice a month for a minimum of six months.
Many GOSO participants seek entry-level positions in the construction and warehousing industries, which often require an OSHA 10-Hour Construction Training Completion Card (OSHA-10). GOSO offers the OSHA-10 Training Course at our Education Center three times per year. The course introduces students to OSHA policies, procedures and standards, as well as general industry safety and health principles, with special emphasis on areas most hazardous to workers. Related, we also offer a Scaffolding/Flaggers certificate training course.
GOSO also offers a 3-day Security Training Class that includes 8- and 16-hour security training and fireguard preparation, and qualifies participants for a NY State Security License. We also cover the cost of a NY State Drivers License Pre-Licensing Training Course as well as costs associated with testing for and acquiring a drivers license. Our Career Managers work one-on-one with participants to identify training opportunities throughout the city that can improve their employability and open up new career opportunities and high-paid positions. Whenever possible, we supplement the cost of training and testing.
All participants who complete the GOSO 2 Week Job-Readiness Curriculum are eligible for our Internship-2-Employment (I2E) program, GOSOWorks. Twelve-week internships provide hands-on job experience in a participant’s area of career interest. Our Director of GOSOWorks, Geoffrey Golia, works directly with internship providers across NYC to ensure that participants have a challenging work experience, opportunities to learn new job skills, adequate supervision, and professional mentorship.
Career Managers assist participants in applying for our on-site high school equivalency (HSE) program (Pathways 2 Graduation funded through the Dept. of Education), college, or vocational schools. GOSO staff also monitor their attendance and performance after they enroll. GOSO pays application fees, provides MetroCards for transportation, and covers the cost of books. GOSO volunteers provide tutoring to participants at all educational levels.
In collaboration with the Department of Education (DOE), GOSO has established a high-school-equivalency program at our East Harlem community office, specifically our Education Center. Our Pathways to Graduation (P2G) class makes education more accessible to our participants, and staff members are always available to support our students’ efforts. Students receive breakfast, lunch and MetroCards for transportation to and from class.
To keep our P2G students engaged and working toward their diplomas during the summer months, GOSO offers summer school classes during July and August. Classes meet from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, Monday–Thursday and focus intensively on math, which we have found to be the most challenging subject for our students. We also provide our students breakfast, lunch and MetroCards for transportation.
The GOSO Education Coordinator works one-on-one with participants with an interest in attending college to help them apply for Federal aid and fill out college applications. For students attending our P2G Class, a College Counselor from the Department of Education also provides guidance and assistance for college bound students.
GOSO’s staff of highly qualified, licensed social workers provide onsite individual and group supportive counseling, as well as family and crisis counseling, and often intervene at critical moments for our participants when bad decision-making can have catastrophic results. In addition to our MSW Career Managers, GOSO recruits at least three Social Work Interns each year from the Columbia University and N.Y.U. graduate schools of social work who meet with participants both on Rikers Island and in our East Harlem facility. We also provide psychiatric evaluations and counseling, and referrals to offsite mental health and substance abuse programs.
Year-round financial advice and tax services are provided on request by a GOSO volunteer with many years of experience in tax preparations and financial advising.