Dana Jackson at his Mediation Certfication Ceremony
At 19 years old, Dana Jackson is in the process of completing his GED, working in food service at the Boys & Girls Club and feeling confident about his prospects.

A year ago, Jackson's future didn't look as bright.

Jackson has a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) and was kicked out of high school in 11 th grade. As the oldest of four children living with his single mother, Jackson needed to get a job to help support the family. But because of his CORI record, he was finding it nearly impossible.

"Every time I applied for a job, they wouldn't follow up," says Jackson. "They would come up with some excuse. But I needed to contribute to my family."

Through a community outreach worker at Action for Boston Community

Dana Jackson with Governor Deval Patrick
Development, Jackson learned about Second Chance @ Success, a stimulus-funded program run by ABCD's South End Neighborhood Action Program. The program is specifically designed to help youth between the ages of 17 and 24 who have CORIs by providing them with classroom training, work experience and case management.

Second Chance offers participants certification in a variety of courses such as mediation, computer literacy, financial literacy, healthy lifestyles and first aid.

"We want them to build their resumes to help them find their own jobs," says Shilo Kuriakose who is the coordinator of the program. "Everything we do hopefully makes them more appealing to employers."

dana Jackson at a Roundtable Event with Gov. Deval Patrick
According to Lisa Swain, who is a manager on the program, most of the youth are referred to them through other agencies. So far, 45 participants have gone through the program and five have been placed in permanent positions. The program also encourages the youth to continue with their education.

Jackson applied to the program this past October - it involves an interview and an essay - and was accepted. He received certification in financial literacy, computer resources, mediation and healthy lifestyles and is currently in the process of completing his GED. Second Chances also got him into the Safe Serve training program at the Greater Boston Food Bank which will complement his job experience through Second Chances at the Boys and Girls Club where he is working in maintenance and food preparation.

"I can take this experience and I can go other places," he says. "I feel more

Dana Jackson at a Roundtable Event with the Governor
confident about getting a job now."

Jackson completes Second Chances in August and he has big plans for life after the program. He'd like to work in a restaurant and go back to school to get a trade - either in culinary arts or auto mechanics.

"This program got me ready for a job," he says. I learned how to dress for success; I learned how to save my money. I'd probably still be looking for a job if I hadn't joined this program."