MADISON Wisc. – April 24, 2017 – In honor of National Reentry Week, the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin is highlighting its efforts to help ex-offenders succeed in society after release.
The week, presented by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Justice, focuses on issues and resources for the nearly 9 million inmates who transition from incarceration to the community each year.
The WDBSCW is helping inmates at the Dane County Jail get ready for release with the Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release (LEAP) grant and Windows to Work program.
In June 2015, the WDBSCW was awarded the $500,000 LEAP grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to create a Job Center at the Dane County Jail. The center, run in collaboration with the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, provides pre-release services and feeds directly into post-release community-based Job Center services.
Windows to Work is a 7-week, voluntary program designed to help inmates who are within six months of release, show commitment to education, and are at risk for reoffending. The program, developed by the State of Wisconsin Department of Corrections, helps participants search for and secure employment to ensure a successful return to their community. It also seeks to increase employability skills and employment opportunities to reduce the chances of reoffending and to create safe communities.
Each participant works with a Career Coach who provides pre-release services, including cognitive intervention, general work skills and expectations, financial literacy, community resources, and job seeking, applications, and resumes. The Career Coach also helps participants connect to education and employment services post-release at American Job Centers to support a successful career pathway.
Earlier this month, twenty-two inmates celebrated their graduation from Windows to Work at the Dane County Jail. Since it’s launch in 2015, more than 90 inmates have engaged in the program’s cognitive behavioral and career readiness training offerings pre-release.
About Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin
The Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin (WDBSCW) is a private, 503(c)(3) nonprofit organization that collaborates with businesses and workforce in the Wisconsin counties of Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Jefferson, Marquette, and Sauk with a mission to build public and private partnerships that support innovation and excellence in workforce development.