Brunswick-based Coastal Counties Workforce Inc. is receiving a $500,000 federal grant to establish a pre-release employment program for inmates at Cumberland County Jail.
The U.S. Department of Labor grant will help CCWI establish an American Job Center at the jail, where inmates can access pre-release employment and career services.
The funding is part of a broader initiative in the federal department's "Linking to Employment Activities Pre-release" program. The initiative, which links correctional facilities with workforce development programs, aims to create a support system for inmates by helping them start careers after being released from prison.
"Too often, our system does not adequately address the barriers that inmates face as they reenter society,"wrote U.S. Senators Collins and King said in a joint statement. "To help former inmates have a chance at success, we must be proactive and ensure that those in prison are given the right tools to return to our communities as productive members of society. By establishing this Pre-Release Employment Project (PREP) at the Cumberland County Jail, CCWI will take a crucial step in developing inmates' commitment to hard and honest work, while strengthening our skilled labor force and improving our employment rate in the process."