Expert Panel Discusses Pathways to Reentry and Employment for the Formerly Incarcerated

MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
April 29th, 2016
Posted In: Awareness

image1This April, representatives from the White House, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR), the National Urban League and others participated in a panel discussion to examine programs and policies aimed at helping at-risk youth stay on track and formerly incarcerated individuals find pathways to financial stability.

Moderated by White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks April Ryan, the conversation was the first in a three-part discussion series convened by the National Urban League and Bank of America designed to examine the important policy issues affecting minority communities.

Panelists discussed the challenges facing individuals who are being released from prison, including difficulties finding jobs and housing, and problems reconnecting with family and other social supports.

MENTOR CEO David Shapiro explained how mentoring helps keep youth on track on a path toward success, and discussed the greatest challenges in connecting at-risk youth with mentors.

“We have to acknowledge that we have a support and opportunity gap in this country, and then create systemic responses to reach and support young people.  This can only be done when organizations that are broadly embedded in communities, like the National Urban League, operate high-quality mentoring programs, and leaders like Bank of America invest in mentoring,” Shapiro said.

Bank of America Charitable Foundation President and MENTOR board member Kerry Sullivan addressed the social and economic challenges facing particular communities of color and urban areas who are struggling to build wealth and achieve financial stability, adding that mentoring helps support and expand apprenticeships and programs critical to the financial success of today’s young people.

In addition, representatives from the National Urban League and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission addressed important and necessary reforms in housing and employment designed to help open doors to opportunity.


To encourage and promote the important work done in support of the successful reentry of formerly incarcerated individuals, the U.S. Department of Justice has designated the week of April 24-30, 2016, National Reentry Week.


  • Thelma Stewart says:


    This is a very encouraging article to read. I felt the sincerity in the words written; I only wish this could be a topic of conversation in my community. I am very interested in heightening the awareness of this problem in my community, and I want to be active in this situation. Would someone please reach out to me?

    • MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership says:

      Dear Thelma:

      Thank you for reaching out to MENTOR, and I’m happy to connect you with mentoring-related training and professional development resources that may help you.

      First, I encourage you to visit the websites of our affiliate Mentoring Partnerships throughout the country. These organizations work to support the local mentoring field in their state or region through training and technical assistance, awareness-raising, and brokering connections to resources. If there is a Mentoring Partnership in your state, you can contact them to learn about upcoming trainings they are offering, or other local resources. If there is no Mentoring Partnership in your state, I would still encourage you to visit their websites for online and archived trainings, as many Mentoring Partnerships have made extensive resources available online. Also, on the MENTOR website you can find the Elements of Effective Practice for mentoring programs and accompanying Toolkit, which are comprehensive guidelines for implementing quality mentoring, as well as archived webinars and trainings on specific topics in mentoring.

      Second, attending a local mentoring conference, many of which are organized by Mentoring Partnerships, is an excellent way to receive intensive training and network with others in the field. MENTOR also hosts the National Mentoring Summit in Washington, DC each year. The next Summit will take place February 1-3, 2017, learn more here!

      Third, the Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series is a way to receive in-depth training and information about specific topics in mentoring in a free, virtual format. This monthly webinar series highlights a different topic in mentoring each month and features prominent members of the field sharing their expertise through informative dialogue. You can view past webinars and register for upcoming webinars on the MENTOR website. Past topics include match closure, advocacy, and social media strategy around National Mentoring Month.

      Finally, the Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring, run by mentoring research pioneer Dr. Jean Rhodes, is an excellent resource with a wealth of information about mentoring. This site is updated regularly with emerging research on different topics in mentoring and also provides a forum for you to engage in dialogue with researchers and practitioners in the field. The Chronicle shares upcoming lectures and webinars, as well as connects to digital learning spaces. It is a great site to follow to access current research relevant to practitioners, as well as learning opportunities.

      Again, thank you for reaching out to MENTOR. Please contact us with any additional questions about our organization or how you can become involved in the youth mentoring movement!

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