WASHINGTON — Returning home from prison can be hard, particularly without the benefits of a stable job. Without employment, the likelihood of recidivism rises. To provide the support, training and assistance needed to find and keep a good job, the U.S. Labor Department today announced a $27 million Training to Work — Adult Reentry grant program — to help thousands of soon-to-be-released inmates become productive citizens.
"A good job gives a person a sense of dignity and purpose. It enables them to find a decent place to live and enjoy a hot meal at home," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Good jobs are a pathway to the middle class. Those who have paid their debt to society deserve the opportunity to find and hold useful employment. It puts money in their pocket, most of which is pumped back into the economy. In the best America, everyone shares our prosperity. That's what these grants can make possible."
Training to Work grants will fund sustainable efforts to develop and adopt career pathway models — an approach designed to link and coordinate education and training services for individuals to obtain industry recognized credentials. With these credentials, these workers can find meaningful employment and meet the needs of local employers in growing sectors and industries.
The department expects to award approximately 20 grants with a maximum value of $1,360,000 each to provide training and employment services for men and women, ages 18 and older (including veterans), who participate in state or local work-release programs.
Grant applicants must be located in an area with high poverty and high crime rates, including Promise Zones — communities which often have a larger proportion of returning citizens and higher rates of recidivism. Applicants will also be required to establish a committed Career Pathways Collaborative led by the grantee, and consist of representatives from the workforce system, work release programs, and employers and/or industry associations. The CPC leadership team will create a comprehensive program. Selected applicants will be expected to include the following components in their proposals: case management, mentoring services, educational activities, training that leads to industry-recognized credentials, workforce activities, and follow-up services.
Nonprofit organizations that meet the requirements of the solicitation may apply. The Funding Opportunity Announcement, which includes information about how to apply, is available at http://www.grants.gov.