Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $900,000)
Peaceprints of WNY Proposal Abstract
Project Name: Project Blue Workforce Development Expansion
Objective: Project Blue (PB) clients who enroll in the workforce development expansion will develop their soft skills, and complete specialized training pre-release, to help them achieve stable well-paying employment upon release.
Project Summary: Hope of Buffalo, Inc., DBA: Peaceprints of WNY (PPWNY) proposes an expansion of their existing PB program. The program will continue to serve justice-involved individuals, connecting them with intensive case management, community resources, and wraparound supports. However, the new iteration of PB will evolve in scope and practice to also provide workforce readiness training, pre-release vocational training to post-release workforce placement pipelines, and intensive job coaching for individuals with disabilities, behavioral issues, or other needs that make it difficult to attain and retain well-paying employment.
Primary Activities: Based on individual interests and aptitudes, incarcerated clients of PB will enroll in certain workforce development tracks created and executed in collaboration with local employers from industries with a labor shortage. The education the client completes pre-release will serve as a feeder to pipeline them directly to stable, above minimum wage jobs with the employer directly upon release.
Recognizing that some clients have greater needs than others to become “job ready”, clients who struggle to thrive in general career tracks will have access to an Employment Coordinator, who will work intensively with them to help them apply for, train, and retain a position in the workforce.
Service Area: This initiative will serve individuals in Buffalo and Erie County, New York.
Client Demographic: Project Blue’s Workforce Development Initiative will actively collaborate with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Jail Management Division (JMD), Probation Department, and local County Court judges to identify and engage a minimum of 100 justice-involved individuals ages 18 and up to the program. Most participants will be low-income, generally falling well below the poverty line and many participants will have dropped out or have been removed from their high school education. All participants will have categorized as “medium” to “high” risk by the JMD’s validated risk/criminogenic needs assessment tool to identify potential participants.
Deliverables: All participants will be enrolled Ready, Set, Work! and receive a certificate when they complete the curriculum, and will leave with an updated resume and references. Individuals who complete the career tracks will also leave with a certificate from their respective programs and will be pipelined into a position upon release.