MA candidate Jacob Perkins presents a defense of his practicum research on Friday, August 21

Jacob Perkins, MA candidate in sociological practice, will present a defense of his practicum research, “An Evaluation of Post-release Job Developmental Training and Its Impacts on Ex-offenders,” on Friday, August 21, at 4:30 p.m. in LA 244.

If you wish to attend the defense, please contact Donna Holland, Associate professor of sociology, at

What is the Master’s practicum experience?
The practicum capstone challenges students to integrate and apply their classroom learning in a hands-on professional practice experience. Each student develops a proposal outlining expectations and anticipated outcomes of the proposed practicum. Once their practicum committee approves the proposal, the student carries out the practicum and prepares a final report that includes policy recommendations for resolving a problem or improving the functioning of the organization or situation which the student studied.

Jacob Perkins
“An Evaluation of Post-release Job Developmental Training and Its Impacts on Ex-offenders”

Practicum Committee members:
* Donna Holland, associate professor of sociology and director of the Center for Social Research, chair
* Augusto De Venanzi, professor of sociology
* Sherrie Steiner, assistant professor of sociology

Reentry programs have greatly evolved over the last decade, especially with the passage of the federal Reentry Initiative in 2004 and the Second Chance Act in 2008. These programs aim to assist ex-offenders with successful societal reintegration.

Blue Jacket company logoIn Fort Wayne, Indiana, Blue Jacket is a post-release reentry organization that has been operational since 2003. The main component and cornerstone of Blue Jacket is its Career Academy, a sixty-hour four week program that targets job readiness and pre-employment training. The goal of the Career Academy is to fill a gap in workforce services and preparedness for adult ex-offenders by better equipping those without skills or experience for today’s workforce.

The importance of social capital development during the Career Academy is highlighted in this research because of the instrumental role that it provides ex-offenders seeking employment. This formative evaluation utilized secondary datafrom Career Academy graduates who went through the program in 2011.

This research examined eight hypotheses related to initial and sustained employment outcomes and found that increased levels of social capital and self-assessment were related to a greater likelihood of Career Academy graduates experiencing initial employment. Additionally, greater levels of social capital, being male and being Caucasian were related to a greater likelihood of Career Academy graduates experiencing sustained employment.

Findings from this research exposed areas where the Career Academy could adjust their training program to further develop clients’ employment potential. Two significant recommendations for the Career Academy include: 1.) Continue developing initiatives that serve to promote social capital acquisition among Career Academy clients and 2.) Provide supplemental support and greater outreach to females and minority male clients.

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