Home » Workforce program announced to boost participation by helping inmates find jobs

Workforce program announced to boost participation by helping inmates find jobs

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear joined Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey and Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ashli Watts to announce two new programs aimed at boosting workforce participation by helping the justice-involved population who have paid their debt to society and are leaving prison to find meaningful employment.

According to the Department of Corrections (DOC), more than 13,100 individuals are released from prison annually after completing their sentence, and one of the most frequent barriers to successful reentry in the United States is the lack of employment.

The Governor said to support our booming economy, fuel our workforce and reduce the chances of someone returning to prison, those transitioning out of prison need a good-paying job.

“My faith teaches me that there are second chances in this life and that we are all our brothers and sisters’ keepers,” Gov. Beshearsaid. “I am proud of the work we have done to grow a strong economy and achieve a historically low recidivism rate, and today we are doing even more to support job growth with a new Prison-to-Work Pipeline program and a virtual learning job skills program for inmates returning to society.”

In August, Kentucky led the entire country in new job growth, and in September, the state tied for first. From September 2021 to September 2022, Kentucky added more than 80,000 new jobs. That’s the largest number of new jobs added in 20 years. For the first time ever, the commonwealth also posted record-low unemployment rates for the longest consecutive stretch on record, holding at or below 3.9% since April 2022.

Prison-to-Work PipelineThe administration is partnering with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to launch the Prison-to-Work Pipeline at all 13 state prisons and 19 local jails that house state inmates. Businesses located throughout Kentucky’s 120 counties will virtually interview inmates with the goal of the inmate being offered a start date before returning to society. Inmates will receive resume writing assistance and job interview preparation before their interviews.

Job Readiness SimulationThe Governor announced that the administration is now offering a new virtual learning job skills program. By learning to overcome challenges through this virtual learning experience, inmates will develop the resiliency, perseverance and confidence needed to overcome real-life obstacles and help them answer job interview questions.

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