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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ETA News Release: [02/10/2011]
Contact Name: Lina Garcia or Mike Trupo
Phone Number: (202) 693-4661 or x3414
Release Number: 11-0185-NAT

US Department of Labor announces grant competition to help former offenders gain career skills and rejoin community life

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of approximately $11.7 million in grant funds to serve adult offenders who are returning from incarceration to high-poverty, high-crime communities. The purpose of these grants is to provide an employment-centered approach to reintegration that improves long-term labor market prospects for ex-offenders.

"The Labor Department is committed to getting all Americans back to work and to expanding opportunities for everyone who wants a job," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Stable employment helps ex-offenders stay out of the legal system. Focusing on that end is the right thing to do for these individuals, and it makes sense for local communities and our economy as a whole."

Authorized by the Workforce Investment Act, today's grants will be awarded through a competitive process open to nonprofit, faith-based and community organizations. Participants will be individuals ages 18 and older who have been convicted as adults under federal or state law, but who have never been convicted of a sex-related offense, with the exception of prostitution. Complete eligibility criteria are included in the solicitation for grant applications.

In order to successfully reintegrate into a community, it is essential that ex-offenders possess the skills and support necessary to enter and compete for jobs in the labor market. This grant will rely heavily on faith-based and community organizations to develop necessary relationships and facilitate connections to rehabilitation services for program participants.

Each year approximately 650,000 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 ex-offenders return to criminal activity. Almost three out of five returning ex-offenders will be charged with new crimes within three years of their release from prison, and two out of five will be re-incarcerated, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

A notice of this solicitation is published in the Feb. 10 edition of the Federal Register. To view the full solicitation online, visit http://www.doleta.gov/grants/find_grants.cfm. For information on the range of Department of Labor employment and training programs, visit http://www.doleta.gov.