BEST Chance

Under the direction of Capital Workforce Partners, the BEST (Basic Education Skills Training) Chance program provides job training, career counseling, and retention services to persons with criminal backgrounds and or general justice involvement, in order to reduce recidivism and increase employment and earnings.

We strive to do this by offering FREE occupational training in the fields of Manufacturing, Construction, Carpentry, and Culinary to returning citizens and justice-involved youth ages 18-24, using the I-BEST contextualized learning model.

The BEST Chance program serves second chance, re-entering adults, and Justice-Involved youth. Justice involvement means that you must have previously been arrested or have had any engagement with the criminal justice system.

Contact us today to get started! 860-656-2553


  • 18 years or older
  • Eligible to work in the U.S.
  • Live in the North Central region of CT

* Some trainings may require a high school diploma or GED.

Our Services

The goal of the BEST Chance program is to assist Returning Citizens through trainings designed to provide skill development and help them attain industry-recognized credentials for employment placement. Our services include but are not limited to:

Job Readiness & Skills Building

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We support you with occupational training, applying for jobs, preparing for interviews, and addressing barriers you may have in finding work.

Supportive Services

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We assist you with transportation to training and work site costs, work attire, and other basic needs. Once enrolled, our case managers will support you in finding resources, and make referrals to community agencies for additional help.

Carpentry & Woodworking

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The Carpentry program teaches Carpentry and Woodworking fundamentals that offer real-life, job-specific training in a wide variety of competencies in the field of carpentry.


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In one week, you can obtain micro-credentials to work on a construction site: OSHA10, Fire Watch, Boom & Scissor, Scaffolding, CPR & First Aid, Forklift Safety Awareness, and Traffic Flagger.

Culinary Arts

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We offer ServSafe Manager Certification, ServSafe Food Handler Certification, Food Service Sanitation, Food & Knife Handling Skills training, Equipment Identification, and more.


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Our training partners provide education in: Engineering Drawing Interpretation, Metrology, Manufacturing Math, Introduction to Computers & Conventional Machine Lab Instruction, and CNC Machining.

Our team is here to help you achieve your career goals!

  • Assessments
  • Career Counseling
  • Job Training
  • Computer Training
  • Career Workshops
  • Jobs Club
  • Math Remediation
  • Internet
  • Computers
  • Copier & Fax Access
  • Labor Market Information
  • Career Exploration
  • Interview Techniques
  • Resume Preparation
  • Support Services

Contact us today to get started! 860-656-2553

Giscar Smith, 860-899-3448
Tahari Austin, 860-899-3482
Veeder Place Building, 3rd Floor, Suite 310
20-28 Sargeant Street, Hartford, CT 06105
Winner of the Governors’ Workforce Partnership Excellence Award

The Capital Workforce Partners (CWP) BEST Chance Partnership is an Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) Second Chance pilot program which implements a contextualized learning program in Hartford County to reduce unemployment and recidivism rates among ex-offenders in Connecticut. The program features an IBEST curriculum model, supporting employment in culinary, manufacturing, construction, healthcare and Transportation Distribution Logistics (TDL). BEST Chance provides work readiness and supports services to Returning Citizens to compete in today’s labor market by providing relevant training and support in manufacturing, construction, culinary, transportation and healthcare. Specifically, program goals include: completion of basic, occupational and advanced training, increase earnings and employment, reduction of recidivism, retention of employment I-BEST is an evidence-based model, designed to provide vocational education combined with contextualized adult basic education.

BEST Chance provides construction & carpentry training which is in high demand, and includes fundamentals of construction; training: 40 hour construction training; credentials: OSHA 10, Fire Watch, CPR/First Aid.  The culinary trainings offered by Chrysalis provide practical kitchen skills training along with a ServSafe Manager and Food Handler certification. The student experience starts in the morning with food preparation and culminates in the afternoon with I-Best curriculum training conducted by CREC. The introductory Pre-Manufacturing training provides both conceptual and practical applications of processes, materials and products in the manufacturing industry. Students are taking college level courses in Metrology, Blueprint reading, and Manufacturing Math, and are being mentored and trained by Pratt & Whitney Quality Assurance experts and tutored by the I-Best CREC program.

CWP working with Career Resources Inc. (CRI) and Community Partners in Action (CPA) and other partners have successfully supported the BEST Chance Program with case management, substance abuse treatment, work readiness training and connecting with BEST Chance participants to hundreds of employers in various industries, most recently through the We Rise and Pathway Home Initiatives.

Career Resources (CR)I is a statewide leader in workforce development and re-entry programs and collaborates closely with CT Department of Correction through its work-release and other re-entry programs. CRI works closely with the CT Re-entry Collaborative and the Re-entry Roundtables and Re-entry Welcome Centers to support returning citizens on their path to successful reintegration and stable employment.

Community Partners in Action (CPA) supports the transition from life in the system to life in the community supporting direct services, community action and restorative justice advocacy. CPA offer essential services including transitional housing, reentry and resettlement support, workforce development and coaching, as well as partnerships with mental health and addiction services. CPA operates two Reentry Welcome Centers (RWC), one in Hartford working with a large network of community partners who provide coordinated services and ensures that the needs of people with a criminal history are met in a timely fashion to improve their likelihood of successful reintegration.

The Community Resources Inc (CRI) We RISE CareerConneCT Reentry Program supported through the CT Office of Workforce Strategy (OWS) and focuses on providing Returning Citizens with immediate supports through Reentry Centers and Councils in targeted municipalities throughout CT. CRI also support a U.S. Pathways Home Program supporting the training of individuals and placement into employment.  Over the three years the goal is for 400 participants, with 360 completing pre-release curriculum, with 280 placed in employment.

The Best Chance Partnership includes multiple initiatives with various partners.  The partnership has established a strong partnership with the US Support and US Re-entry Courts. BEST Chance training opportunities are offered to more federal returning citizens who are finding it difficult to find work. This partnership has led to an increase in referrals to the BEST Chance programming and to improved relationships and increased connectivity to CT parole officers with whom we partner to support the re-entry populations.

The BEST Chance Partnership also worked to build a partnership with the NAACP One Million Jobs Campaign (OMJC), leading to the successful identification of 56 potential employment sites in the Healthcare sector (statewide), which represents a highly significant expansion of employment opportunities for Returning Citizens that were not previously accessible.

Other BEST Chance Partners include the CT Department of Labor, CT Department of Corrections and various employment/training programs.


Thousands of formerly incarcerated individuals in the State of CT are reentering the Connecticut’s community, with multiple talent capabilities. The CT State of Reentry Report 2024, published by Career Resources, the references how Connecticut’s incarcerated population has declined in recent years due to collaborative partnerships focused on mental health, substance abuse treatment, housing placement and workforce development interventions.

Black/African Americans and Hispanic/Latino(a) Americans are disproportionately represented within Connecticut’s prison and jails relative to their population size in Connecticut. On June 1, 2023, 35% of people currently incarcerated with sentences ending within six months and 41% under community supervision identified as Black/African American versus 12.9%  in the state population. On June 1, 2023, 27% of people currently incarcerated with sentences ending within six months and 29% under community supervision identified as Hispanic/Latino(a) versus 18.2% in the state population.

According to the report the number of people in state prisons and jails is almost half of what it was at its peak. In February 2008 there were 19,894 incarcerated people in Connecticut.  Fifteen years later, as of this past June 2023, there were 10,058 individuals incarcerated.

Comprehensive partnerships such as the BEST Chance Partnership have successfully provided an array of employment training services, with support services, leading to several hundred job placements in the past decade of returning citizens.

The Best Chance Partnership works with individuals who are justice-involved, including former-offenders released from incarceration, convicted of a crime or violation.  The Partnership works programs such as Career Resources and Community Partners in Action through the We Rise Program with CT DOC who support re-entry BEST Chance services from York Correctional Institution, Manson, Cheshire and Hartford County halfway houses. The BEST Chance Partnership works through community outreach partners, such as CPA’s Welcome center in Hartford, to recruit additional participants for rolling classes and cohorts. In such cases, a participant who has been incarcerated at any point is eligible for the program. Participants who have received pre-release job search assistance; preparation, basic education or occupational training may enter the two-week vestibule phase or be waived directly into the training cohort for selected occupations.

As thousands of returning citizens have reentered communities throughout Connecticut, they are part of the hidden talent supporting business and industry.

Special thanks to the CT & US Department of Labor, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Community Partners in Action, and Career Resource, Inc.

Download the BEST Chance Program Flyer
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

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Youth & Young Adults

Ages 14-24