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News Release

ETA News Release: [03/18/2013]
Contact Name: Laura McGinnis
Phone Number: (202) 693-4653
Release Number: 13-0499-NAT

US Department of Labor announces $20 million in grant funds available to help adult inmates in work release programs prepare to re-enter the workforce

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration today announced the availability of approximately $20 million in grant funds to help adult inmates prepare to re-enter the workforce. The department expects to award 15 grants of up to $1.4 million each to organizations that will provide training and employment to inmates ages 18 and older participating in state or local work release programs.

"Funded programs will provide essential support for adults who have served their time and are looking for ways to re-enter the workforce, and support themselves and their families," said acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris. "These investments in rebuilding lives also reduce stress on state and local budgets, and contribute to increased community stability."

ETA has invested in five generations of the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders-Adult Program, which historically have been employment-centered. Research from the departments of Labor and Justice shows that ex-offenders are more likely to obtain employment and experience career growth if they acquire industry-recognized credentials. Since program year 2011, ETA has required grantees to provide training that leads to an industry-recognized credential prior to the end of the performance period. Additionally, ETA has found that programs offering pre-release services have higher post-release enrollment and more successful program outcomes. 

These grants are being made available through the Training to Work-Adult Re-entry program and will build on research findings to provide services to offenders who are enrolled in work release programs and are ready for work. Participants will have approved release dates typically ranging from six to nine months and are still under state or local correctional supervision. Grantees will focus on in-demand industries and occupations in which ex-offenders are eligible to work.

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.

Recipients of these grants must be located in or have existing staff presence, such as satellite offices or shared office space, in an area with high poverty and crime rates. Any nonprofit organization with 501(3)(c) status that meets the requirements of the solicitation may apply. The solicitation for grant applications, which includes information about how to apply, is at For more information about the Department of Labor's range of employment and training programs, visit