U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Driving Career Equity Through Skills Program

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)

Safer Foundation (Safer) of Chicago, Illinois, is requesting $900,000 to implement the Driving Career Equity Through Skills program under the Department of Justice (DOJ) Improving Reentry Education and Employment Outcomes solicitation, Category 2: Improving Employment Services and Connections, seeking priority consideration under 1(A). Safer will provide 120 adult males with employment-focused pre-release and transitional services through a partnership with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and two Adult Transition Centers (ATCs) operated by Safer, Crossroads and North Lawndale. Driving Career Equity Through Skills will serve participants ages 18 or older, with preference for Veterans, during the 3-year program period. Safer will target the six high need communities surrounding receive a disproportionate number of prisoners returning from the IDOC. These include the communities of Austin, North Lawndale, East Garfield Park, West Englewood, Humboldt Park, and Englewood in Chicago.

The Driving Career Equity Through Skills program will support 120 justice- involved men pre- and post- release to pursue career pathways and advance as they acquire industry-recognized skills and credentials in demand sectors and occupations. Safer Foundation will integrate best practices and promising practices from the following fields: Community-based Reentry, Case Management Practice, Positive Criminology, and Workforce Development. The program design is based on its successful Safer Demand Skills Collaborative SM (SDSC) model for supporting, training, and employing adults with criminal records in high-demand occupations with career pathways. The foundations of this employer-driven workforce development model are: 1) assess each candidate’s eligibility, competencies, and needs; 2) place clients in customized occupational training that lead to employment in selected industries and occupations; 3) provide supportive and specialized services to ensure training and employment retention; and 4) work closely with employer partners to implement effective job-placement strategies.

Safer Foundation is applying under Category 2, and will implement the following under our SDSC model: 1) assess local, regional, and state demand for employees in high demand occupations and sectors and what job-training grants will be available, 2) conduct individualized reentry career planning upon the start of incarceration in Safer ATCs for each individual served under the grant, 3) maintain and expand connections to employers at the local, regional and state-level, and 4) track and monitor all required Bureau of Justice Affairs and Safer Foundation employment outcomes.

Date Created: September 25, 2023