$500,000 to connect current and formally incarcerated with work opportunity and access
Seattle, Wash.- The Workforce Development Council (WDC) of Seattle-King County, is honored to accept an award of $500,000 from the US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration to support employment opportunity access for persons having been involved in the criminal justice system throughout Seattle-King County. The WDC is one of ten recipients nationwide in an effort to improve re-entry outcomes for community members returning home from confinement.
Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez commented regarding the grant’s announcement: “Why wait for inmates to be released before giving them support they need to re-enter the workforce? (I’m) proud to live in a nation of second chances.”
This Workforce Integration Project will establish a One-Stop American Job Center site, known locally as WorkSource, in the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent which is a part of the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention. Partnerships with the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, King County, and South Seattle College will make this great work possible. The project will establish a coordinated system of re-entry pathways designed to help persons reconnect to employment and education opportunities, as well as access the wrap-around services needed to be successful community members and reduce their involvement in the criminal justice system.
Executive Dow Constantine comments: “King County is committed to reducing recidivism and creating employment pathways for people who need a second chance. As part of our commitment to equity and social justice, we support the progressive efforts of local organizations and justice leaders as they foster the potential of all people and build stronger, safer communities.”
“This partnership will build upon our region’s robust employment system,” says Marléna Sessions, Chief Executive Officer of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. “With this project, we hope to lead systemic change efforts in serving adults who face barriers to employment and self-sufficiency after incarceration.”
“This support from the Department of Labor will allow us to advance our mission of making sure past offenders have the tools, education and support to find good jobs as they transition back into their communities,” South Seattle College President Gary Oertli said. “We look forward to working closely with our partners in providing these citizens with the opportunities they deserve to achieve stability and success.”
Pamela Banks, CEO of the Urban League, remarks: “This grant in partnership with the Workforce Development Council and partners furthers the Urban League’s mission of empowering communities to thrive by securing educational and economic opportunities. We are honored to engage in this work of supporting our residents’ self-sufficiency upon returning to their community and families.”
Hannah Mello, Communications Program Manager
Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County
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