Obama Administration Spending Millions to Help Ex-Cons Find Jobs

June 2, 2011 - 5:15 AM

(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. Labor Department is distributing almost $12 million to ten organizations "to help ensure the success of adult offenders returning to work.”

The grants of $1,170,000 each will provide training, employment and support services to adult former inmates returning to their communities after serving time in what the Labor Department calls "justice facilities."

"The grants announced today are an investment not just in the futures of former inmates, but also in the communities and families to which they are returning," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

According to a Labor Department news release, the grants will pay for job training, employment preparation, mentoring and connections to support services such as housing, substance abuse programs and mental health treatment.

These grants represent the fourth generation of the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders-Adult program, which was first funded in 2005 as the Prisoner Re-entry Initiative.

The Labor Department says each year, approximately 650,000 inmates are released from state and federal prisons, and without help in making a successful transition, many will return to criminal activity. 

“In order to successfully reintegrate into their communities, it is essential that these individuals have the skills and support necessary to compete for and obtain jobs,” the Labor Department said.

$28 million for 17,000 homeless veterans

Also on Wednesday, the Labor Department announced 122 grants totaling more than $28 million to provide approximately 17,000 veterans who are homeless or at risk of being homeless with job training to help them succeed in civilian careers.

The grants are being awarded under the U.S. Department of Labor's Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program. 

Funding includes $4,335,775 for the Homeless Female Veterans and Veterans with Families Program and $3,882,443 for the Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program, which helps veterans who have served time in prison.

And in a third announcement on Wednesday, the Labor Department announced 22 grants totaling more than $9 million to provide approximately 4,000 veterans with job training to help them succeed in civilian careers.

The grants are being awarded under the Labor Department’s Veterans Workforce Investment Program, which emphasizes training for veterans who are interested in "green" jobs that are currently available or soon will be.

Such jobs include those related to energy efficiency and renewable energy, modern electric power development and clean vehicles.