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Department of Labor announces new prisoner employment re-entry initiative

05.11.08

May 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Department of Labor announces new prisoner employment re-entry initiative

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, April 20th- Pennsylvania is one of 22 states to receive a $130,434 grant that in turn will fund faith-based and community organizations to deliver employment services to prisoners returning to civilian life.

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced on April 10th, grants totaling almost $3 million for the “Prisoner Re-entry Initiative.”

According to the DOL, the initiative is designed to strengthen urban communities through an employment-centered program that incorporates mentoring, job training and other comprehensive transitional services benefiting ex-offenders.

“These grants will advance partnerships with local faith-based and community organizations to equip ex-prisoners with basic job skills, couseling and opportunities to earn an honest living in our communities,” said United States Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.

Ms. Chao is the longest serving cabinet member of President George W. Bush and the wife of Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

According to the DOL, the program “has significantly reduced the rate of recidivism by helping non-violent ex-inmates find meaningful employment through the assistance of local faith-based and community organizations.”

Pennsylvania’s criminal justice agency was named as one of 22 states, along with the District of Columbia, to receive post-release services grants. Neighboring states of Ohio and New Jersey will also receive the post-release grants.

Over the next two years, the funds will be used to offer services such as basic skills remediation, job-skills training, couseling and on-the-job training. Job placement efforts will be co-ordinated with local One-Stop Career Centers, businesses, educational institutions and other employment providers.

For more information on the Prisoner Re-entry Initiative visit http://www.doleta.gov/pri.

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