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KLF KnoxWorx SCA Improving Employment Services

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $900,000)

Purpose, Service Area, and Beneficiaries: Knoxville Leadership Foundation (KLF), a Category 2, Improving Employment and Services Connections applicant, requests a 36-month grant of $900,000 for KLF’s Second Chance Act Improving Reentry Education and Employment Outcomes KnoxWorx Project (KLF-SCA). KLF, in partnership with the Knox County Detention Facility, Knox County Probation, Tennessee Department of Correction, Morgan County Correctional Complex, and 50+ workforce and resource partners will serve 150 individuals in Knox and surrounding counties in East Tennessee. KLF-SCA will promote reentry success and reduce recidivism by addressing regulatory barriers and other barriers to academic achievement and high-value employment through KLF’s proven KnoxWorx workforce development model. Program beneficiaries include not only formerly incarcerated participants but also participant families and reentry communities as KLF-SCA case management also will connect families to KLF programs, services, and resources removing additional barriers for participants.

Expected outcomes: 150 incarcerated adults fully supported from pre-release, post-release, through program exit will achieve long-term, high-value employment in in-demand industries reflecting program-wide measurable skill gains (70% of participants), education and employment placement rates (65% of participants), and recidivism rate < 15%.

Primary activities: KnoxWorx integrates employability, vocational training and remedial academics with intensive case management, quality mentorship, and co-locates key partners and wrap-around service providers on site at correctional facilities and at KLF’s Workforce Development Center. Participant will create customized Individual Development Plans and Transition Plans (IDPs) with comprehensive case management, receive employability and life-skill training, and vocational skill training leading to an industry-recognized certification, apprenticeship, high school diploma, or other academic degree. Participants will be placed with committed and engaged employer partners who will offer on-the-job training (OJT), work experience leading to additional credentials, and long-term employment opportunities.  

KLF-SCA advances racial equity by removing barriers to employment and reentry for incarcerated individuals forging trusted employer relationships with program-vetted employers to engage more individuals of color into quality, long-term employment; building social capital through mentorship and coaching; and engaging leaders of color to share lived experiences to engage program participants. Among KnoxWorx participants, 53% identify as individuals of color. KLF’s Industry Task Force and employer roundtables will help define employment and program strategy; development of IDPs for each participant, 50+ committed employers providing OJT, credentialing, and employment opportunities; and KLF information management systems providing secure platforms ensuring data integrity and accurately measured outcomes.

Date Created: September 25, 2023