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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Investments to Support Ex-Offenders’ Successful Reentry into Workforce

$25 Million in Grants Available for Approximately Five Organizations

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of up to $25 million in available funding for organizations that help young adults enter the workforce following involvement with the justice system. The funding is available under the Young Adult Reentry Partnership 2020 grant program and will serve young adults ages 18-24 years old who are currently or have previously been involved with the juvenile or adult criminal justice system, are low-income, or are high school dropouts at the time of enrollment.

President Trump made clear in his 2020 State of the Union Address that efforts to prevent crime, facilitate successful reentry to the workforce, and reduce recidivism are top priorities. The First Step Act, which he signed into law on December 21, 2018, reforms the criminal justice system and takes steps to reduce recidivism. A key goal of the new legislation is to ensure successful reentry of ex-offenders into the community.  

“When young adults leave the justice system, they often encounter challenges that hinder their ability to join the workforce and reenter their communities,” said Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John Pallasch. “But President Trump has made it clear. We believe in second chances. The young men and women exiting the justice system deserve the opportunity to participate and add value to our workforce, and we at the Department stand ready to assist them.”

The Department plans to award up to $4,500,000 each to eligible organizations with IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit status, including post-secondary educational institutions; women’s, minority, community, and faith-based organizations; state or local governments; or any Indian and Native American entity eligible for grants under section 166 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Grant applicants must seek partnerships with community colleges in order to provide education and training in those local industries most in demand, including but not limited to healthcare, information technology, and energy. 

The Department is especially interested in program models that offer work-based learning opportunities, including apprenticeships, and models that exhibit strong partnerships with employers.  Priority consideration will be given to applicants that propose serving communities with rates of high-poverty and high-crime and communities located in a qualified opportunity zone. 

The Funding Opportunity Announcement, which includes information about how to apply, is available at

The Employment and Training Administration administers federal job training and dislocated worker programs, federal grants to states for public employment service programs, and unemployment insurance benefits. These services are primarily provided through state and local workforce development systems.

The mission of the U.S. Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.


Employment and Training Administration
March 16, 2020
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Media Contact: Emily Weeks
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