Program Description: The Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO) 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 who are formerly incarcerated (returning citizens). 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 returning citizens.
Eligibility/Target Population: 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. Adult reentry programs focus on service to individuals 18 years old and older who have been convicted as an adult and imprisoned.
Core Services Provided for Youth: Youth projects focus on pre- and- post release services, which include: case management, educational skills training, tutoring, mentoring, high school diploma equivalency preparation, credit retrieval, restorative justice opportunities, occupational skills training, work experience, Summer Bridge programs, summer jobs linked to academic and occupational learning, job placement, staff and leadership development activities, utilizing non- profit legal services providers for the expungement of juvenile records, diversion from adjudication, follow-up and other supportive services.
Core Services Provided for Adults: Adult projects focus on pre and post-release services, which include: career exploration through work experience and internships, pre-employment, basic skills training, high school diploma equivalency preparation, mentoring and case management. Projects also promote collaboration and coordination between community-based organizations, foundations, state and local justice agencies, school districts and the public workforce system. In 2013 REO shifted its target population focus to provide services for returning citizens currently participating in work release programs.
Special Populations: In June 2012, DOL awarded its first generation of grants to provide critical self-development and workforce development assistance for adult and youth female ex-offenders as they make the transition back to their communities.
Allotments: The Department of Labor first began receiving funds for youthful offender projects in 1998 and in 2001; DOL began receiving an appropriation of roughly $50 million a year for youthful offender projects. In PY 2014, DOL received an approximately $80 million.