The Navigator Certificate
in Human Services and Community Justice Curriculum

Please note: The Spring 2020 Navigator Certificate application is now open. Click here to access the online form

The Navigator Certificate in Human Services and Community Justice training combines the curriculum from a core course in the new John Jay College major in Human Services and Community Justice with professional skills development.

The Certificate program honors the deep value of lived experience in the criminal justice system and supports Navigator students who want to draw on this experience as human services practitioners.  The curriculum prepares Navigator students to help other people with similar life experience to access services and realize the changes they seek for themselves.

Students who complete the training will receive the Navigator Certificate in Human Services and Community Justice, awarded by John Jay College Professional Studies.

Certificate holders who matriculate at John Jay College for undergraduate studies will receive six (6) academic credits, which cover one (1) of the required courses for the Human Services and Community Justice major and one (1) elective course.

Our approach
      • Developed by the Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI) at John Jay College in partnership with John Jay faculty, employers, and people with lived experience in the justice system.
      • Focused on learning and learning transfer so that education and skills apply to the world of work at students’ current or post-training jobs.
      • Oriented to self-reflection and finding voice.  Navigator students will engage with coursework through the lens of life experience.
    • Grounded in the neuroscience of trauma and powerful strategies for self-care in the human services workplace.
    • Supported development of academic and professional skills, including group and one-on-one writing skills development. People with a high school degree or equivalent who want to explore a supportive, introductory college-level experience are welcome, along with people who have prior college coursework.
curriculum overview
      • A college-level introduction to human services theory and ethics
      • History and values of the human services profession
      • Approaches to helping people and communities
      • Overview of human services sector
      • Impact of race, gender, and sexual orientation inequality in criminal justice and in human services
      • Community development and community economics
      • Community-based approaches to justice
      • Tech skills required for the human services field
      • Ethical standards of the National Organization for Human Services
skills overview

Employability skills

      • Self-exploration and finding voice
      • Self-care for human services practitioners
      • Impact of lived experience in human services work
      • Navigating organizational culture
      • Communication with colleagues, supervisors, and people receiving services

Introduction to human services skills

      • Navigating social services
      • Service needs assessment and referrals
      • Motivational Interviewing
      • Writing for human services (case notes, referral letters, professional emails) Writing for human services (case notes, referral letters, professional emails)

Career Pathways and work readiness

      • Professional resume, cover letter, and job search skills
      • Mock interviewing
      • Know Your Rights workshops (PRI partnership with the Community Service Society)
      • Ask a Lawyer (rap sheet review and clean-up)
      • Career planning
general course requirements:
      1. Attendance and participation in class and study groups
      2. Academic and professional writing assignments
      3. Field experience / site research at a human services agency
sample modules:

Curious about what you’ll learn by enrolling in the Navigator Curriculum? Check out some of the sample course modules from the Navigator Certificate curriculum below.

Introduction to Community Practice
Introduction to community development, community economics, and the ways that individuals and organizations interact in communities.  A human services worker is not an island; workers are part of a community, and they are hired by non-profit or government agencies to do the work of helping others.  This module will develop understanding of how human services work is organized and implemented within communities and organizations. A key focus for this module is community-initiated development and how communities and individuals are drivers for their own growth and well-being. This module will examine values and strategies that ensure community residents have input into the decisions that impact their neighborhood as well as how they can direct the services being offered to them.  Students will develop insight into how their work as human services practitioners can tap into and maximize existing efforts in the community.        

Social Resilience Model (SRM)
SRM consists of research-based neuroscience concepts and a set of practical skills that can be used for self-care as well as peer-to-peer. SRM has been used nationally and internationally with people suffering distress and trauma.  In NYC, SRM is being used in primary care and community-based organizations that serve people involved in the criminal justice system.  Students learn brain-based techniques for regrounding and rewiring brain responses during and after situations of distress.  SRM skills can be used in a wide range of human services settings.

Navigating Organizational Culture
This module focuses on the individual capacity and responsibility to recognize that every professional setting has its own culture and norms.  Students will learn how to use observation, questioning, and listening to surface otherwise hidden cultural norms and take responsibility for learning to function within those norms and eventually challenge them effectively when necessary.  An introduction to the ways that organizational culture shows up in individual and group communication and supervision norms as well as professional practices around authority, email communication, and work/life balance.

Tech for Human Services/Mobile Platforms
Human services workers are using technology in the office and in the field.  This module covers finding resources online, entering data and case notes in client services databases, and other technology applications in human services.  Students will be provided with tablets and notebooks for use in class.