Skip to content
  ETA Home   RExO>    

About RExO

Overview Target Population to be Served Allowable Uses of Grant Funds

The Reintegration of Ex-Offenders program provides funding, authorized as Pilot and Demonstration Projects under Section 171, of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 for youth, young adult and adult ex-offenders. Our mission is to develop guidance to the public workforce system on how best to serve this population within the guidelines of our regulatory authority. These pilots and demonstration projects are designed to test the effectiveness of successful models and practices found in community and faith-based environments and other government systems, but have not been tested for its adaptability in the public workforce system. It is our goal to develop strategies and partnerships that will facilitate the implementation of successful programs at the state and local levels that will improve the workforce outcomes for ex-offenders.

This program seeks to reduce recidivism by helping former inmates find work when they return to their communities, as part of an effort to build a life in the community for everyone. In the local areas served through this initiative, faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) will provide comprehensive and coordinated services to ex-offenders in the following three areas:

  • Employment:
    Employment is a critical stabilizing factor for ex-offenders and this initiative will stress job placement, job retention, and increasing the earnings potential of released prisoners. FBCOs will offer job training and job placement services in coordination with business, local American Job Centers (formerly, One-Stop Career Centers), educational institutions, and other employment providers. Partnering faith-based and community organizations will provide each program participant with work-readiness, soft skills training, mentoring, job placement or referral for job placement, and post-placement support.
  • Vocational Training and Educational Interventions:
    Educational attainment is increasingly critical in the global economy. A vast majority of jobs now require more than a high school diploma. The Center for Economic Policy Research found that "[t]ime behind bars can lead to deterioration in a worker's "human capital," including formal education, on-the-job experience, and even "soft skills" such as punctuality or customer relations. "[1] In order to improve employment opportunities for ex-offenders, opportunities for education attainment and industry-recognized certificates are essential. FBCOs will conduct assessments and work with participants to create individual development plans to connect participants to continuing education services (either toward the attainment of a high school diploma or GED or toward the attainment of an Associate's or Bachelor's degree), based on the participant's needs and interests, by partnering with adult education agencies, community colleges and other education providers. Participants must also be given opportunities for training in work readiness and soft skills. As well, FBCOs should partner to offer opportunities for advanced vocational training with the goal of industry-recognized certifications, particularly in high-growth, high-demand fields in the local economy and in the "green" industry.
  • Mentoring:
    FBCOs will provide post-release mentoring and other services essential to reintegrating ex-offenders in coordination with the corrections, parole, and probation structure. Participating adult ex-offenders will be matched with appropriate mentors who will be primarily responsible for supporting the returnee in the community and the work place. Mentors will offer support, guidance, and assistance with the many challenges faced by ex-offenders.
   Target Population to be Served  

Participants in youth programs range in age from 14 to 24 and have been involved in the juvenile justice system but never involved in the adult criminal justice system. In some instances this target population is limited to youth ages 18 and above. Adult reentry programs focus on service to individuals 18 years old and older who have been convicted as an adult and imprisoned.

   Allowable Uses of Grant Funds  
  DOL grant funds can be used to provide a variety of services to returning prisoners, including workforce development services, job training, on-the-job training, work experience, basic skills remediation, counseling and case management, mentoring, and other reentry services. DOL grant funds may not be used for housing or substance abuse treatment services.