A new community partnership has been established to better prepare inmates for re-entering the workforce by providing skills training prior to their release.
Inmates selected for the program will be state inmates that have been classified by the Kentucky Department of Corrections as community or minimum-level custody inmates. They are already assigned as inmate workers with select work assignments at the Daviess County Detention Center. These inmates were viewed as ideal candidates for the program because their cases have been adjudicated and resolved. They are serving sentences that would provide ample opportunity to complete the program and are serving time for non-violent convictions (vs. inmates awaiting trial) which means they will likely be returning to the community soon.
“We are excited to be part of this community effort to support re-entry and workforce readiness for the inmate,” said Jailer Art Maglinger. “The opportunity and willingness of these individuals in the workforce is a stabilizing factor and foundational component in their successful re-entry. ”
Initial funding for the program is being provided by the City of Owensboro and the Daviess County Fiscal Court. The two municipalities have committed funding to support participation of 40 inmates in the program. The first cohort will consist of 5 inmates and will begin on June 20.
“Employment is an important part of successful reentry into the community after incarceration. This program will provide an opportunity to better prepare individuals for a positive crime-free life moving forward,” said Mayor Watson.
Judge-Executive Al Mattingly added, “This partnership will allow inmates to become thriving, productive Daviess County citizens. It will assist them in a fresh start, help create a good foundation, and change the mindset of these individuals.”
The Re-entry Success Program will provide inmates the opportunity to earn both the Enhanced Operator I and Workforce Readiness Certificates via Owensboro Community & Technical College’s online FlexTrain platform. Inmates selected for the program will complete several courses focused on workplace skills critical to employment within manufacturing and skilled trades companies. Some of the topics include hand and power tools, lean operations, safety, and problem solving, and workplace principles. Successful program completers will have an opportunity to interview with area employers.
The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation is also a partner for the program.
“We are very excited to implement this program,” said Brittaney Johnson, President/CEO of the EDC. “As we continue to face workforce challenges here locally and across the nation, we hope this is another way to continue to grow our pipeline, while also helping incarcerated men and women begin new chapters in their lives after they are released.”