Six city and community partners in central Indiana have been awarded $500,000 from the United States Department of Labor to connect transitioning offenders to the work force. The program will provide career development services at several Marion County Jail facilities.

June 5, 2015

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A consortium of six city and community partners was awarded $500,000 from the United States Department of Labor to assist local, transitioning offenders with workforce entry upon the conclusion of their incarceration. The resulting program will make career development services available inside the Marion County Jail system.

Recent census data has shown that, of the three Marion County Jail facilities, the average length of stay, including low-level felony offenders, is approximately 130 days due to the State of Indiana’s incorporation of community-based alternatives to jail, such as work release centers and electronic monitoring. Data has also shown that, in Marion County, the recidivism rate of unemployed ex-offenders is 63 percent. This brings the need to make workforce connection and education services more readily available to incarcerated residents preparing to transition back into the community. Thanks to the grant award, 100 transitioning offenders will be provided with career development services, including training, career and skills assessments, and job searching prior to their release, as well as ongoing support and follow-up services afterwards.

This city partnership, led by EmployIndy, Marion County’s workforce investment board, includes the Marion County Jail (MCJ), the Marion County Reentry Coalition (MCRC), Public Advocates in Community re-Entry (PACE), Marion County Community Corrections (MCCC) and the Director of Reentry for the City of Indianapolis.

“There is a clear link between education, employment and recidivism within our locally incarcerated population,” said Brooke Huntington, president and CEO of EmployIndy. “We are excited to support this partnership which provides a path of security and self-sustainability, and can serve to strengthen our available workforce.”

“The Marion County Reentry Coalition (MCRC) is very pleased to be a partner in this project that demonstrates the key aspects of the MCRC Reentry Approach: comprehensive services and supports; a wrap-around approach, and a partnership with community based organizations to meet the needs of those returning from incarceration,” said Lena Hackett, president of Community Solutions.

The grant submission also received support from area legislators. “The selection of EmployIndy as one of 20 projects to provide comprehensive services to inmates before release will help lower their chances of reoffending,” said Congressman Andr? Carson. “I was honored to express my written support for this grant and will continue to work closely with community stakeholders to maximize resources and opportunities for individuals preparing to re-enter the workforce.”

“I applaud EmployIndy and its partners on obtaining this very competitive grant,” said Congresswoman Susan Brooks. “I have long been an advocate for workforce development for all of our citizens, including those in jail and reentering our community. The transitioning offenders, their families, local businesses and the Marion County community are well served by this partnership.”

This grant award is part of the $10 million “Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release” or “LEAP” initiative funded by the United States Department of Labor. Grants were given to 20 communities in 14 states nationwide to provide comprehensive services to inmates before release and ongoing support as they regain their place in the community when their incarceration ends.

For more information visit EmployIndy.org.

About EmployIndy

EmployIndy is a Marion County nonprofit organization that provides expertise, identifies tools and prioritizes resources to develop, create or find the best talent needed to power the Marion County economy. Guided by a 27-member board composed of business, civic, education and nonprofit community leaders, EmployIndy guides the investment of public and private funds to meet the needs of Indianapolis businesses and residents. Formed in 1983, EmployIndy is led by president and CEO Brooke Huntington. For more information visit www.EmployIndy.org or view the 2013-2014 Report to the Community.

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