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  • County receives $500K grant for inmate work training

    Sep 29, 2016 | Read More News
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    Pima County has received a nearly $500,000 federal grant to create a job training program in Pima County Jail that will help inmates transition to society and minimize recidivism.

    The $492,441 U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release (LEAP-2) grant will provide the funds for Pima County Jail to launch and operate an American Job Center (AJC) located inside the Minimum Security Facility of the Pima County Adult Detention Center.

    JailJail officials plan to recruit 150 inmates to participate in the program. Those participants all will be within 180 days of release and members of jail-based programs such as Adult Basic Education/GED preparation or Moral Reconation Therapy.

    The participants will receive needs assessments, employability skills training and career counseling through the program. Eligible participants also will be approved for work release and provided travel support to attend job interviews.

    A Workforce Development Specialist will work with participants following their release.
    To encourage successful employment and reengagement with the community, participants will be evaluated and connected to community health and behavioral health providers, as well as additional needed social services. 

    Rapid identification of health insurance status, and health and behavioral health needs will be enhanced by utilization of the Justice-Health Information Data Exchange and partnerships with Regional Behavioral Health Authority contracted providers housed within the jail.

    When participants are released from jail, they can continue to receive workforce development training through Pima County’s Sullivan Jackson Employment Center (SJEC). SJEC will also facilitate connections to wraparound housing and health-related services. Securing employment while being provided with shelter and health services helps formerly incarcerated individuals to navigate healthier and more economically secure pathways post-release.

    The Departments of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release Specialized American Job Centers (AJC) grants are a pilot program that will support the development and implementation of specialized American Job Centers within county, municipal or regional correctional facilities. The programs link participants to a continuum of post-release services in community-based AJCs, which will enable transitioning offenders to prepare for employment prior to release and to continue with services post-release.

    Pima County’s partners in this effort include the Local Workforce Investment Board of Pima County; the Community Services, Employment and Training Department of Pima County; Pima Community College Adult Education program; Arizona’s Wagner-Peyser Employment Service and Vocational Rehabilitation programs; Tucson Urban League Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training; Community Food Bank’s Caridad Kitchen; Compass Affordable Housing; and community-based behavioral health programs run by providers like La Frontera.

    Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release aligns with Pima County’s overall goal of pursuing collaborative programming at the intersection of the criminal justice system and human services work in order to reduce local jail recidivism and the local jail population.

    Another collaborative initiative LEAP 2 will complement is the $1.5 million John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge grant Pima County received in April.
     

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