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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ETA News Release: [01/12/2012]
Contact Name: David Roberts or Gloria Della
Phone Number: (202) 693-5945 or x4679
Release Number: 12-0040-NAT

Secretary of labor announces grant competition to help former offenders gain career skills and rejoin community life

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced the availability of $20.6 million in grant funds to assist adult former offenders who are returning to their communities after serving time in justice facilities. The U.S. Department of Labor expects to award 17 grants of approximately $1.21 million each to organizations that will provide these individuals with employment-focused services and support.

"By supporting these employment training programs, we are fulfilling a core promise of our justice system: Those who do wrong and serve their time deserve a second chance to make a positive contribution to their families and their communities," said Secretary Solis. "Ultimately, these investments are turning 'tax takers' into 'tax payers,' and helping to relieve a major economic strain on state and local budgets, while also helping individuals get back on their feet and enhancing community stability."

Grantees will provide job training and employment preparation assistance, mentoring and connections to support services such as housing, substance abuse programs and mental health treatment. These grants represent the fifth generation of the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders-Adult Program, which previously was called the Prisoner Re-entry Initiative.

Eligible applicants for the grants include nonprofit organizations that are located in or have existing staff in the high-poverty, high-crime communities they propose to serve. Program participants will be individuals ages 18 and older who have been convicted of crimes as adults under federal or state law, but never of a sex-related offense, with the exception of prostitution. Complete eligibility criteria are included in the solicitation for grant applications.

Each year, approximately 700,000 inmates are released from state and federal prisons, and return to their communities and families. Without assistance to make a successful transition, the majority of former offenders return to criminal activity. In order to successfully reintegrate into their communities, it is essential that these individuals have the skills and support necessary to compete for and obtain jobs.

A notice of the grants solicitation will be published in the Jan. 13 edition of the Federal Register. To view a copy online, visit http://www.doleta.gov/grants/find_grants.cfm. For more information on the Department of Labor's range of employment and training programs, visit http://www.doleta.gov.