Labor Department awards $1.2 million to Little Rock Workforce Development Board to create collaborative ‘Reentry Project’

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 126 views 

The Little Rock Workforce Development Board has been awarded $1.2 million by the U.S. Department of Labor to develop the Rock City Reentry Project.

The money is part of $72 million in grants announced by the Labor Department earlier this summer “to enhance employment opportunities for justice-involved individuals.”

The Rock City Reentry Project is a response to Arkansas’ status as having one of the fastest-growing prison populations in the country, largely due to its high rate of recidivism.

The project, according to a new release, will create a “dynamic, robust, and tightly coordinated network” of services and training sites to equip 150 adults with the resources to obtain long-term, meaningful employment and gain stability in the free world.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola highlighted the project as part of the City’s Little Rock for Life campaign that was announced during a press conference on July 20.

To be eligible, according to the release, applicants must have exited a correctional facility within 180 days of enrollment, or will be on active community supervision. Participants will receive intensive case management, mentoring, mental health and substance abuse counseling to develop positive decision making skills.

Service hubs at the Our House Career Center, Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, and the Little Rock Workforce Center will provide participants class offerings in areas of education, soft-skills training, health and wellness and financial empowerment.

The Center for Arkansas Legal Services will provide additional support to clients experiencing legal barriers, and Mulligan Services Inc. will assist with recruitment and intervention groups for the highest-risk participants.

Through partnerships with Pulaski Technical College, the Arkansas Construction Education Foundation, Arkansas Food Jobs and apprenticeship sites, participants of the Rock City Reentry Project will complete paid training programs that lead to careers in a variety of on-demand workforce sectors.

Employers interested in collaborating with the Rock City Reentry Project to provide on-the-job training or full-time employment opportunities to graduates of the program should contact Our House Reentry Program Coordinator Rachael Borné at rachael@ourhouseshelter.org.

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