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$2 million grant will expand employment and training services to support returning citizens and Michigan employers
November 06, 2023
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has been awarded a $2 million federal grant to expand the Michigan Citizen Reentry Initiative that provides employment and training services to justice-involved individuals with the goal of reducing their recidivism rates and increasing their successful participation in employment and training opportunities.
“Returning citizens face challenges getting the skills they need for high-skilled, good-paying jobs,” said Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “The Michigan Citizen Reentry Initiative is an innovative and inclusive approach to expand the pool of talent our state needs to keep our economic momentum going strong. It ensures that individuals who have paid their debt to society can help keep Michigan open for business and on the move. Governor Whitmer and I will keep working hard to help more individuals, families, and businesses make it in Michigan.”
The expansion grant will be used to broaden outreach efforts to residential reentry centers, individuals under home confinement and justice-involved individuals transferring from another federal facility. It also brings a collaborative approach to solving the problem of recidivism by providing pre-release education, career guidance, social support and employment assistance to those who are incarcerated, as well as needed support post-release.
“We’re focused on making Michigan a place where all people, businesses and communities have the educational and economic means to reach their full potential – including those who were incarcerated and need support to get back in the workforce,” said Susan Corbin, Director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “The Michigan Citizen Reentry Initiative expansion will further our efforts to make sure everyone has the education and training resources they need to build a better future here in Michigan.”
Using an employer-led approach, returning citizens will be provided training for in-demand skills and paired with employers willing to work with at-risk individuals through direct employment or Registered Apprenticeship programs. The Citizen Reentry team will later establish a statewide network that would allow returning citizens access to a variety of employment and training supports through the Michigan Works! network.
“Research shows securing quality employment is one of the top challenges to justice-involved individuals,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, Director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training. “MiCRI aims to help returning citizens succeed by ensuring they have the necessary skills employers are looking for.”
LEO’s Office of Employment and Training received a $7.6 million grant in November 2022 to launch the initiative at the Milan Federal Correctional Institution and four residential reentry centers in the state - the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo and Cherry Street Services in Detroit and Grand Rapids. These efforts are directly supported by Michigan Works! Southeast, Michigan Works! Southwest, the Detroit Employment Services Corporation (DESC) and West Michigan Works!.
“This investment in reentry services is the morally right thing to do. We need to continue to do everything possible to empower those who are returning back to our communities with the tools and resources they need to be successful," said Darryl Woods, Founder and CEO of Fighting The Good Fight, a nonprofit that provides support and mentorship to returning citizens and at-risk youth. "This will help reduce recidivism, save us a lot of money and restore families in a meaningful way. I strongly appreciate this hand-up approach in helping those who are coming back home."
The $2 million competitive Partners for Reentry Opportunities in Workforce Development grant will allow the program to expand statewide and was awarded to LEO by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Justice. Learn more about the initiative on the MiCRI webpage.
To learn more about LEO’s efforts to promote a flexible, innovative and effective workforce system within Michigan, go to Michigan.gov/Workforce.