Employers and Justice Involved Individuals Benefit
The Tennessee Department of Labor’s Office of Re-entry awarded the Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board a grant to serve both employers and justice involved individuals to assist in reducing the rate of recidivism in our community. In 2021 the rate of recidivism in Tennessee was roughly 46%. This means almost half of all those released from jail or prison were estimated to return within three years. A major reason is due to the process of re-entry, returning to society after incarceration, being difficult.
In June 2021, the Tennessee Office of Re-entry was created with the goal of improving the re-entry process through collaborative, strategic, and data-driven initiatives. The Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board was awarded a grant to put these initiatives in motion for the rural area. During National Second Chances Month, the Board released a series of videos including one focused on employing justice involved individuals as part of an employer talent strategy with guest speakers Sid Crocker with Kaiyuh Services in Milan, TN and Gibson County Sheriff Paul Thomas. Another valuable video covered Expungement 101 with guest speaker Danny Goodman, District Attorney General for Dyer and Lake Counties. These are available for viewing by visiting www.nwtnjobs.org.
Two Regional Re-entry Job & Resource Fairs were held at the American Job Centers in Huntingdon and Dyersburg with 22 employers participating and additional resource booths for the justice involved participants. The Office of Probation and Parole referred jobseekers. An additional 20 hiring events were hosted throughout the Spring by employers open to hiring individuals with justice involvement.
In partnership with Alliance Staffing Group, LLC, the Workforce Board awarded training grants for several justice involved individuals to gain skills in a production manufacturing environment by on-the-job training and mentorship gaining long-term career skills while earning self-sufficient wages. Alliance Staffing also operates a Production Technician Apprenticeship program registered with the US Department of Labor in which they have enrolled 18 justice involved apprentices to date.