Second Chance NJ

Second Chance NJ is a non-profit organization, created to train and place previously incarcerated people in the hospitality industry. High rates of recidivism (individuals returning to jail/prison after release) and the difficulty the food industry has in attracting and hiring long-term employees make this a project that can solve two serious problems in our community.

2nd chance nj training opportunities


  • According to NJDOC, nearly 11,000 prisoners are released each year
  • Of those, 53% are rearrested within three years, 40% are reconvicted and 31% are reincarcerated

Cost of Recidivism

Causes of Recidivism

Low levels of educational achievement, limited opportunities for employment (many employers will not hire former prisoners) difficulty in obtaining housing, alcohol and drug addictions, an array of chronic physical and mental health disorders, and lack of supervision all contribute to high levels of recidivism.

  • 33% of released prisoners have no high school diploma
  • 33% have mental or physical disabilities
  • 85% are substance involved
  • Max-outs (those who served their full term) are rearrested at a rate of 63% while parolees (those with supervision) are rearrested at a rate of 46%

Edwins Leadership

We have taken our inspiration from the Edwins Leadership group in Cleveland, Ohio. Founded in 2007 with the belief that every human being, regardless of their past, has a right to a fair and equal future, this groundbreaking program graduates 100 students per year, places 95% of graduates in local restaurant jobs, and experiences a less than 1% recidivism rate.


Working with community college

Second Chance NJ has entered into partnerships with the Brookdale Community College Culinary Arts Program and Monmouth County Probation

The college has created an exclusive 6-week program to provide a basic orientation to the culinary arts. This intensive course will prepare the student to assume entry-level positions in the area’s restaurants. Probation will assist in the screening and selection of candidates for the program.

Second Chance NJ Program

  1. Individuals selected for the program will receive an extensive 6-week introduction to the culinary arts, tuition free.
  2. Program participants will receive a weekly salary during the duration of the program.
  3. Successful graduates of the program will be placed in a predetermined restaurant to begin their apprenticeship.
  4. Apprenticeship programs will last 90 days and with the goal of an offer for full time employment
  5. Program participants will be given assistance in obtaining housing, earning a GED, getting medical insurance and more


Second Chance NJ is creating an endowment to fund this program on an on-going basis. Donations can be made to:
Second Chance NJ
P.O. Box 352
Brielle, NJ 08730



501c3 Organization

Section 501(c)(3) is the portion of the US Internal Revenue Code that allows for federal tax exemption of nonprofit organizations, specifically those that are considered public charities, private foundations, or private operating foundations.