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Department of Labor Awards $20 million to Support Inmates Seeking Employment

return to workThe U.S. Department of Labor has issued $20 million worth of grants to provide former inmates (age 18 and up) with job training through state work-release programs. The grants are part of the Training to Work-Adult Reentry initiative, which is actively promoting work skills, education, and other services for inmates scheduled for upcoming release from prison. The goal of these measures is to enhance the long-term employment prospects of those inmates once they reintegrate with society.

Secretary of Labor Harris explained that “The grants … will help incarcerated adults build a bridge to their communities and improve their chances of success in life. Through the Training to Work program, the participants have a better chance of attaining employment by acquiring industry-recognized credentials, and as a result are more likely to positively contribute to their communities.” L&I lawyers and employment attorneys have also endorsed the program.

Nonprofit organizations across the U.S. received 18 grants to better equip them to support inmates working toward a high school diploma or other industry-recognized certificates. The programs will emphasize high-demand careers where ex-offenders may be likely to work in their local communities. Rules of the grant program also include mandatory components of workforce development training, case management, instruction toward industry-recognized credentials, education, mentoring, and support services to reduce recidivism and support long-term success.

Grants were distributed through a competitive process to nonprofits with 501(c) (3) status, and with a track record of implementing the central parts of the grants in regions experience high poverty and crime. The grants will run for several years, including six months of initial planning followed by 33 months of operation. The funds are also required to cover a minimum nine months of follow-up services for all participants in the program.

For more information on the Department of Labor’s Reintegration of Ex-Offender training programs, visit http://www.doleta.gov/RExO/aboutRExO.cfm.

Grants serving incarcerated adults to prepare for the workforce

Training to Work-Adult Reentry initiative

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Emery Reddy