Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $900,000)
Project Summary: The Dannon Project (TDP) requests a 3-year, $900,000 Improving Reentry Education and Employment Outcomes grant to support the expansion of its ACER (A Chance for Everyone) Program. The program will provide pre- and post-release services to 150 men and women, age 18 and older, who are incarcerated at the time of enrollment and scheduled to return to documented high-poverty and high-crime areas of Birmingham/Jefferson County, Alabama (including five Qualified Opportunity Zones). TDP will partner with the Alabama Department of Corrections, Shelby and Jefferson County Jails, Jefferson County Sheriff Department, Lawson State Community College, Dannon Training Institute, and numerous additional partners to support successful reentry through access to career readiness training, vocational and educational training, pre-apprenticeships and placement in subsidized and unsubsidized jobs. Evidence-Based and Informed Interventions: The ACER program integrates six primary evidenced-informed practices – Screening and Assessment, Mentoring, Court Advocacy, MIS Data Sharing and Collection, Blended/Hybrid Learning (in the wake of COVID-19); and, Case Management – which are credited with providing a strong foundation for program success and with ensuring the highest level of performance would be achieved.
Local demand for employees in the geographic areas has been documented as high by the local workforce development board and has been explained within the project narrative. The local labor job markets for manufacturing and construction are at an all time high due to three mega projects funded locally. There is currently a documented need for 2,000 laborers to complete major construction projects in Alabama.
Pre-release services will include enrollment, assessment, development of Individual Service Plans (ISPs), case management, Life Skills, mentoring, Job Readiness, and Ready-to-Work/Work Keys training, introduction to career pathways for planning purposes, and the development of a transitional plan. Post-release services will include ongoing case management, linkage to supportive services, work experience employment training (subsidized), educational attainment including High School Diploma Options, GED, and Licensed credentials/certifications for twenty-four careers, vocational and job training, and job placement assistance. Follow-up will include continued case management, employment retention support, mentoring, and other skills training. Objectives to be achieved by the end of the grant period are: 1) 70% of participants will have been placed in an apprenticeship, unsubsidized employment or post-secondary education by the 2nd quarter after program exit; 2) 70% of participants will have been placed in an apprenticeship, unsubsidized employment or post-secondary education by the 4th quarter after program exit; 3) employees placed in employment will have a median wage of at least $13.36 per hour; 4) 60% of participants who entered occupational training or HSDO classes will receive an industry certificate or HSD; 5) 60% of participants enrolled in an education and training program will show at least 1 educational functional level during the program year; and 6) No more 20% of enrolled participants will have been convicted of a new criminal offense within 12 months of their release or placement on probation.
The Dannon Project has an established Career Pathways Collaborative comprising of local workforce development boards, up to 20 employers to assist with employment for program participants.