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Minnesota Secures Federal Funding for Second Chance Workforce Services

11/17/2022 3:20:39 PM

Waseca Federal Correctional Institution

St. Paul - The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced today it has received up to $10 million dollars in federal funding through a Partners for Reentry Opportunities in Workforce Development (PROWD) grant to help incarcerated individuals prepare for and find employment in Minnesota after their release from federal correctional facilities. PROWD is a cooperative program overseen by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor. In Minnesota, DEED's CareerForce division will lead PROWD-funded services in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, along with the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC), other state agencies, and community organizations.

The federal PROWD grant will fund CareerForce services that provide pre- and post-release individualized career pathways training, employment skills development, employment attainment and sustainability services to individuals currently residing in federal correctional facilities in Duluth, Sandstone, Rochester and Waseca. PROWD will also fund services to people released from federal correctional facilities in other states who move to Minnesota. On average, about 660 people are released from federal correctional facilities into Minnesota communities each year. These individuals are an important part of Minnesota's second chance workforce – people who were formerly incarcerated and now living and working in our state.

"Who amongst us doesn't deserve a second chance? Our fellow Minnesotans being released from prison have a lot to offer our economy – especially in a historically tight labor market," said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. "This federal funding will help train people coming out of the federal prison system for in-demand jobs that pay living wages and have potential for future career growth."

"Most people in correctional facilities will be released and people coming out of prison should be able to support themselves and their families," said DOC Commissioner Paul Schnell. "This new federal funding will help ensure a successful transition for individuals who have served their time."

DEED plans to begin providing CareerForce services to people in federal prisons in Minnesota starting in the spring of 2023. Those CareerForce services include employment readiness assessment, basic skills training and job search and placement assistance to support participant success. The PROWD grant funding will also help support educational training programs that offer certifications for in-demand occupations in the information technology, construction and green energy industries, registered apprenticeship construction training, and a certificates-to-credits opportunity to meet specific labor market needs of the communities where formerly incarcerated people will live.

The PROWD-funded program for those in federal prisons is a counterpart to similar work DEED will be doing through the state's Pilot Re-Entry Competitive Grant Program to prepare people in state correctional institutions for work and community life after their release.

Economic Development

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