Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $892,980)
Racine County aims to build a robust talent pipeline of 50 incarcerated individuals annually (100 total participants) for Racine County and regional Southeast Wisconsin businesses by 1) using evidence-based concepts such as Moral Reconation Therapy to improve job readiness and soft skills– discouraging destructive habits and behaviors– to reduce recidivism and improve training and employment success, 2) developing individualized post-release employment planning to identify and overcome barriers to employment, 3) enrolling individuals released from incarceration in no-cost training opportunities across high-growth, high-wage regional job families, 4) connecting successful graduates to more than 12 businesses committing to hire a minimum of 100 individuals, and 5) coaching/mentoring graduates to boost retention and on-the-job success. The service area includes Racine County (incarcerated individuals) and Southeast Wisconsin (Racine, Kenosha, Walworth, and Milwaukee County employers). Intended beneficiaries include a minimum of 100 individuals incarcerated for at least 60 days with a focus on individuals with child support holds and traffic violations resulting in a loss of driver’s license.
Racine County seeks 1(B) priority consideration as referenced on page 4 of the grant narrative. Racine County completed a regional strategic employment plan to understand the six fastest growing job groups with shared skills (Service, Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, and Production, Rehabilitation and Health Care, Trades and Supervisors) in Southeast Wisconsin. This plan incorporates feedback across more than 300 regional business partners and dozens of education, nonprofit, workforce and philanthropic organizations to attract new talent, upskill current residents, and support non-traditional groups entering the workforce such as individuals returning to the commuinty from corrections. Racine County will also utilize existing best practices such as Windows to Work, a Department of Labor grant, to conduct pre- and post-release assessments and supports such as cognitive intervention, general work skills and expectations, financial literacy, community resources, job seeking, applications, and resume writing. Through close partnerships on state and federal grant awards, Racine County successfully received 1,300 hiring commitments for underserved residents across more than a dozen employers to help successfully achieve our employment outcomes. Racine County will use an online tracking tool to report out key activities and outcomes on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. Participants will also complete quarterly surveys to help contextualize reported data and more explicity outline challenges and opportunities. Finally, the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Southeast Wisconsin is a culturally specific organization (receiving more than 30% of the project budget) that will place and provide on-site mentorship to program participants at business chamber members.