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Drivers License Recovery Program Helps Families Improve Job Prospects

The Milwaukee County Courthouse is located right across the street from the Center, providing easy access for caseworkers, clients and attorneys.

“Mary” is a single, 22-year-old, African American mother of one child. In late 2008, she was unemployed and looking for a job through PSI, a Wisconsin workfare program. Her driver’s license had been suspended, and without it, her employment prospects were dim. PSI referred her to an innovative new program in Milwaukee, the Center for Driver’s License Recovery and Employability. With the guidance of a Center caseworker, Mary was able to get her license reinstated in March, 2009, and since then has completed Certified Nursing Assistant training at the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), enrolled in MATC’s Registered Nurse degree program, and is now working. She believes getting her license back was a critical step in building a better future for herself and her family.

Losing a driver’s license is not just an inconvenience. It can impact an individual’s ability to find or keep a job, attend community college or technical training, or transport children to daycare, school or medical appointments. Not having a valid license can disqualify a person from applying for certain jobs, particularly in the health care and construction fields, where often it is a pre-condition for employment. The lack of a license can keep a family stuck in a situation of dependence, disconnection and hopelessness. Oftentimes, the loss of a license is caused more by poverty and the inability to pay fines and fees than it is by a willful disregard of the law. And, as license suspension has increasingly become a common sanction for non-driving and non-safety offenses, more and more families are caught up in this web.

Helping individuals to regain their driver’s license is a part of the Casey Foundation’s FES strategy to help families overcome barriers, access job opportunities, and build economic stability and success.

Next: Program is Supported by Judicial System and Workforce Organizations >>