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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor announces nearly $5.5 million in awards under Presidents Prisoner Re-entry Initiative

Grants made to faith-based and community organizations in 18 areas nationwide

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced nearly $5.5 million in awards to 18 faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) as part of the President's Prisoner Re-entry Initiative (PRI). Each chosen group was awarded more than $300,000.

"These $5.5 million in grants will advance local faith-based and community organization efforts to equip ex-prisoners with basic job skills, counseling and opportunities to earn an honest living in our communities," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.

In spring 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded grants to selected state correctional agencies to provide pre-release services to exiting prisoners. The Department of Labor, in turn, announced a competition in early September to follow through with post-release services for those same newly released civilians. Each of today's award-winning organizations will serve at least 100 recently released individuals during the program's first year.

"These faith-based and community organizations will partner with ex-offenders and equip them with the skills necessary to compete as members of the modern-day workforce," said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Brent R. Orrell. "Steady employment, mentoring and moral support help break the cycle of despair and disordered, often criminal, lives."

Introduced by President Bush in his 2004 "State of the Union" address, the Prisoner Re-entry Initiative helps strengthen urban communities and assist ex-prisoners re-entering the community through an employment-based program that incorporates mentoring, job training and other services.

Today's announcement follows 30 awards granted in November 2005, and 23 projects chosen last April. As a result, FBCOs and their partners have enrolled more than 17,000 ex-offenders in programs, and ex-offenders have been placed in more than 11,000 jobs. Those entering PRI programs have a recidivism rate of 15 percent, or almost two-thirds below the 44 percent national average. For more information on the Prisoner Re-entry Initiative, please see

Editor's Note: A list of award-winning faith-based and community organizations is below.

2009 President's Prisoner Re-entry Initiative Award-Winning Organizations

Award-Winning Organization

Target County



The Dannon Project

Jefferson County



Arizona Women's Education and Employment (AWEE)

Maricopa County



Volunteers of America of Greater Los Angeles

Los Angeles County



The Empowerment Program Inc.

Denver County



Career Resources Inc.

Fairfield County



Connections Community Support Programs Inc.

New Castle County



Chicago Christian Industrial League

Cook County



Blue Jacket Inc.

Allen County



One Church One Offender of Louisiana

Caddo and Bossier parishes



Episcopal Community Services of Maryland Inc.

Baltimore County



Flint Area Specialized Employment Services

Genesee County



MERS/Missouri Goodwill Industries

Greene County



Las Vegas-Clark County Urban League

Clark County



Helping Arms Inc.

Mercer County



Community Service Council of Greater Tulsa

Tulsa County



Connection Training Services

Philadelphia County



Project Return Inc.

Davidson County



Word of Hope Ministries Inc.

Milwaukee County



TOTAL = $ 5,474,094

Archived News Release – Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employment and Training Administration
January 15, 2009
Release Number