Niles training for formerly incarcerated graduates 12

Published 11:02 pm Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson


Niles Daily Star

Bill Anderson started It’s Possible Inc. (IPI) in January, but it’s already seeing some big results in its first year in Niles.

The nonprofit, aimed at providing free assistance to formerly incarcerated people with education, job placement and housing, will honor its first graduating class today with a ceremony at 6 p.m. at the IPI office, 1105 North Front St.

The graduating class is made up of 10 clients from Niles and two from Benton Harbor. The graduates completed IPI’s employment readiness training program, an eight-week series of classes that focuses on resume writing, job interview protocol, public speaking and current events.

“It gives you all the skills for finding and retaining employment,” Anderson said.

Anderson, the president and executive director of IPI, said now that his clients have complete the course, it’s time for him to uphold his end of the deal — find them jobs.

Four of the graduates already have obtained jobs, but Anderson wants to see them all get an opportunity.

“I’m hoping with this graduating class that more businesses in Niles will step forward and start to use us for finding employees,” he said. “Our goal is to eventually have those employers come right to our agency. We can give them good people.”

Just as impressive as the 12 graduates and four former inmates with jobs is the fact that only two of the program’s clients have gone back to prison. Without the program, many more of them would have found themselves re-incarcerated, Anderson said,

“That sense of accomplishment is key,” he said. “Before many of them had nothing to hold onto and nothing to feel good about.”

Anderson is proud of the group.

“I appreciate how they’ve stuck with the program and believed in the agency,” he said. “This is the stepping stone class in finding out who we are.”

IPI has provided services to more than 80 formerly incarcerated people since opening its doors, according to Anderson. The nonprofit also provides substance abuse and anger management support.

Despite its early success, Anderson said locating funding has been a challenge. He has applied for several grants but been denied because IPI didn’t have the required “financial capacity.” Donations also have been slow to come in.

IPI’s second employment readiness program began at the beginning of the month. For more information about IPI or to get help from the nonprofit, visit or call (269) 262-0857.