The Duke Energy Foundation has awarded a $250,000 grant to the Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry, or HIRE, program run by the Indiana Department of Correction. The program is designed to help individuals being released from incarceration prepare for and connect with jobs.
The DOC says the funding, which will run through August 2023, will provide educational opportunities for both potential workers and businesses.
Specifically, the grant will support skilling up HIRE’s workforce to meet business needs and partnering with nonprofits to provide housing and transportation assistance. Businesses will receive assistance with recruitment, retention and hiring, as well as training on “how to best work with individuals to promote success.”
“Workforce issues remain a challenge for employers across the state and building a strong pipeline of talent has never been more critical,” Duke Energy Indiana President Stan Pinegar said in written remarks. “The Indiana Department of Correction’s HIRE program is a step in the right direction in addressing some of those needs by providing formerly incarcerated Hoosiers with training for in-demand skills to meet the needs of local employers.”
The HIRE program was established in 2012. The DOC says nearly 17,000 individuals have been connected with jobs through the program since its inception.
Among the participating businesses is Madison-based Grote Industries, which has hired 20 women from the Madison Correctional Facility over the last five years.
“Through the HIRE program, we’re able to bring trained employees onboard to help us continue our growth, the community gains contributing residents, and these women earn the opportunity to get back on the path to self-sufficiency and a healthy life,” said President and CEO Dominic Grote.
The DOC says on average, employees who go through the HIRE program earn $15.80 per hour, up from $8.93 in 2012.