DOL helps formerly incarcerated women find employment

The U.S. Department of Labor is making available approximately $12 million in grants to provide employment development and support services for formerly incarcerated women as they move from imprisonment to their communities.

"Communities benefit when formerly incarcerated individuals are able to smoothly and effectively reintegrate into their neighborhoods," says Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The programs funded through today's grant announcement will make this transition easier, resulting in more stable families and brighter futures."

To receive the grant, employers must provide these women with job training leading to credentials in high-demand industries; employment preparation; mentoring and providing access to supportive services, such as housing and treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues; and parenting assistance. Although these grants are designed to help formerly incarcerated women, services funded by the grants are also open to eligible formerly incarcerated men.

Helping formerly incarcerated individuals transition back into their lives is a government-wide effort supported by the Federal Interagency Re-entry Council and co-chaired by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor. FIRC is responsible for organizing multiple federal agencies to develop plans to increase community safety; assist individuals leaving incarceration in becoming productive, taxpaying citizens; and save taxpayer dollars by reducing the direct and collateral costs of incarceration.

"The Re-entry Council is making important progress in ensuring public safety and advancing community well-being," says Attorney General Eric Holder. "We applaud this Department of Labor investment in women who have been formerly incarcerated and are working to rebuild their lives. This is an opportunity to make a difference — not only for these women but also for their families, neighborhoods and communities."

Grant applicants may submit one proposal for up to $1.5 million. The requested amount is dependant on the number of participants to be served. 

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