SRJC receives grant to continue on-site courses to incarcerated students

April 15, 2019, Santa Rosa, CA – On April 3, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) awarded a grant to Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) in the amount of $113,000 to support the college’s efforts to provide education to current and formerly incarcerated students. According to the CCCCO website, the grant supports the Currently and Formerly Incarcerated Students Reentry Program, which aims to enhance workforce skills and rehabilitation.

“During the past two years, SRJC has established new programs to serve currently and formerly incarcerated populations. This grant will help provide additional resources to support students in both the IGNITE program for jail populations and our Second Chance program for formerly incarcerated students,” said Vice President of Student Services Pedro Avila. 

The SRJC Second Change Program for formerly incarcerated students provides a non-judgmental, supportive environment to help students turn their lives around. Weekly club meetings connect Second Chance students committed to maintaining sobriety and building new positive relationships in a respectful and caring community. Academic, career, and personal counseling is provided by Rhonda Findling who is the dedicated SRJC Second Chance counselor.

“Second Chance provides a vital “home” and sense of belonging at SRJC to formerly incarcerated students who often feel marginalized because of their backgrounds,” Findling said. “Most come from broken homes and/or have histories of abuse. Second Chance gives them a new supportive and caring community as a foundation to help them succeed in college and turn their lives around.”

SRJC has partnered with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office in order to provide individual courses and certificate programs on-site at detention facilities through its program, Inspiring Greatness Inside Through Education (IGNITE).  To date, more than 100 students have enrolled in courses that include subjects like basic mathematics, culinary arts, writing and more. Students have access to counseling services, group workshops, and individual sessions, and may be eligible for fee waivers.

SRJC Dean of Language Arts and Academic Foundations Robert Holcomb said that the program is a key opportunity to reach an under-served student population, while helping provide them with tools to reintegrate into the community.

“Students are achieving educational goals through their own commitment, support from a dedicated group of College stakeholders, and a firm partnership with the Sheriff’s Office.” 

More information can be found at the Second Chance Club website. For information on the IGNITE program, please contact Robert Holcomb at (707) 527-4615 or rholcomb@santarosa.edu.