Pathways to Opportunity

Justice-involved Oklahomans who want to get on with their lives face significant barriers to employment, housing, and education opportunities.


the unemployment rate for justice-involved Oklahomans versus the national average


state and federal regulations impeding access to employment, professional licensing, and entrepreneurship on the basis of a criminal conviction


of Black job applicants with a criminal record receive a callback

How long should someone have to bear the consequences of a mistake they made years ago? A single misdemeanor is all it takes to create a criminal record, something that 1 in 3 Americans have hanging over their heads any time they apply for a job, housing or anything that requires a background check. 

Should the formerly incarcerated who have served their time continue to be punished with the inability to find a job or a safe place to live? Should people charged with simple drug possession, shoplifting, or failure to pay fines and fees never be able to turn their lives around? These are questions that many Oklahomans grapple with every day.

A person standing in a hallway

Our Key Collaboration in this Area: The Education and Training Pathways Collective (ETPC)

Building on strengths in service providers and partnerships at the community and regional levels, POK has implemented a first-of-its-kind Education & Training Pathways Collective with 18 cross-sector partners collaborating to strengthen personalized navigation and flexible financial assistance for participants to persist in training toward living-wage work in demand industries in Oklahoma.

Our Impact


previously incarcerated Tulsans now have access to education, training, and employment support leading to living-wage work through personalized navigation, financial assistance, and innovative training partnerships.


justice-impacted Oklahomans (mostly Tulsans) have benefited from personalized economic stability supports such as housing and benefits assistance.


invested to date

A group of people sitting at a table

“Having access to free training and getting paid during training was more than I ever expected. The welding course helped me make a 19-year pipedream a reality and now I’m doing what I love. It’s helping me focus and keep myself out of prison, and I can provide the right type of life for my daughter that I personally didn’t have growing up. The stipend helped me tremendously because I knew I would not be able to work during training due to the class hours. It helped me pay my rent, plus whatever was leftover was enough to make sure I had what I needed - whether it was paying fines, buying food, or paying my phone bill.”

— Clinton Jones,
Participant of the Center of Employment Opportunities Program

The future of pathways to opportunity in Oklahoma

A collaborative network of culturally competent providers across Tulsa County has the data, capabilities, and resourcing to serve each impacted Tulsan with their individualized education, training, and employment needs.

System-impacted Tulsans know when, where, and how to access a full range of services and supports for their educational, economic, and social needs. Cost is not a barrier.

Employers, and the policy environment around them, remove undue barriers to job entry and advancement that system-impacted Tulsans disproportionately face. System-impacted Tulsans access pathways to living wage work.

Governmental entities including state and local correctional, workforce, and human services agencies facilitate pathways to success for system-impacted Oklahomans.


Join us as we build a safer and more prosperous Oklahoma. As our work evolves,  there will be opportunities to learn and engage.

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