(The Center Square) – A new program would provide for on-the-job training for incarcerated residents in Massachusetts who are attempting to re-enter the workforce.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced in a news release that $590,000 will be used for the Re-Entry Workforce Development Demonstration Program. The initiative will utilize public and private partnerships to provide incarcerated individuals who are returning to the workforce the necessary skills to maintain employment in sustainable wage and career-oriented occupations.
“Creating career pathways for those with chronic high rates of unemployment, like the formerly incarcerated, is critical in our efforts to address inequities in the workforce,” Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta said in the release. "Collaborating with our community partners through these grants helps individuals achieve meaningful employment in Massachusetts.”
According to the release, Quinsigamond Community College, Community Work Services, STRIVE Boston, and Future Hope Apprenticeship Program each will partner with public and private businesses in the on-the-job training program. High-demand industries including environmental services, culinary, construction, and transportation jobs will be the focus of placements.
The program was created through the governor’s Task Force on Economic Opportunity for Populations Facing Chronically High Rates of Unemployment. The task force discovered individuals in prison populations required “intensive interventions” to gain and maintain employment. The group focused on re-entry services for those inmates with barriers to help them get the skills and jobs they need to prevent recidivism.
Community Work Services in Boston received $160,000 in funding to focus on the environmental services industry. As part of the plan, the organization will partner with Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Star Market, and Finesse Hospitality to provide placements for 21 individuals.
Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester received $100,000 as part of the program and will focus on the culinary industry. The college is partnering with Worcester County House of Correction, Snapchef, and the Massachusetts Restaurant Association to place 16 residents into employment opportunities in food preparation.
JRI, who is doing business as STRIVE Boston, is set to receive $130,000 in funding and is looking to place seven residents into the health care and social assistance industries. The organization is partnering with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, with a focus on food and environmental services, direct and relief staff, and therapeutic mentor occupations. The seven clients would be employed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Justice Resource Institute.
Future Hope Apprenticeship Program (FHAP) in Boston is set to receive $200,000. The organization is partnering with businesses in the building trades industry and is looking to place individuals in skilled labor positions. The group is looking to place 12 individuals with Suffolk County House of Corrections and work with Cross Country Painting and Built Better 55.