The U.S. Department of Labor today awarded a total of $12,096,172 in grants to nine nonprofit organizations across the country to provide critical employment and support services for previously incarcerated female adults and youth as they make the transition back into their communities.
"This is a great opportunity for these women and girls to turn their lives around," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "These federal grants will help them obtain the job training and support services they need to positively contribute to their communities and their families."
Seven grantees have been selected to work with adults and two to work with youth. The funds will be used to provide services including job training that leads to credentials in high-demand industries; employment preparation; mentoring; supportive services such as housing, and substance abuse and mental health treatment; family counseling; and assistance with parenting and child reunification.
Providing guidance and support in addition to job training gives previously incarcerated women the stability necessary to improve their educational and employment outcomes, including increasing high school graduation rates, improving literacy and math skills, and entering college and/or other postsecondary training and employment.
Reintegrating formerly incarcerated individuals is a government-wide effort supported by the Federal Interagency Re-entry Council. Chaired by the U.S. Department of Justice, the council brings together numerous federal agencies to advance policies and programs to make communities safer and assist individuals returning to communities from prison or jail in becoming productive, taxpaying citizens.
According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, women accounted for 25.5 percent of all arrests in 2010, including 19.5 percent of arrests for violent crime and 37.6 percent of arrests for property crimes. Over the past 10 years, arrests of men declined by 6.8 percent while arrests of women increased by 10.5 percent.
For a listing of the grantees, go to www.dol.gov/grants.
New Website Shows Businesses How To Create Employment Opportunities for Youth
On June 4, the nonprofit Opportunity Nation, in partnership with the global specialty retailer Gap Inc., today launched the Connecting Youth & Business microsite, an interactive and easy-to-use online tool that both demonstrates the value today's opportunity youth can bring to the workforce, and walks businesses through the process of how to create new employment and learning opportunities for youth. The web tool was unveiled as part of the White House's Summit on Community Solutions for Disconnected Youth.
Businesses can use the online tool to identify one of three ways to create opportunities for young people: (1) helping youth develop Soft Skills - professional workplace skills and behaviors - through mentoring on topics such as communication, leadership, and presentation skills; (2) helping youth develop Work Ready Skills - qualities that enable youth to respond to workplace situations encountered in everyday adult life - through activities such as career days and job-shadowing; and (3) helping youth put these skills to use in an actual work environment through Learn and Earn Programs like internships, experiential learning, and apprenticeships.
"Our Opportunity Index revealed that one of the most dominant factors in determining an area's overall opportunity score was the engagement of its youth, " said Mark Edwards, executive director of Opportunity Nation. "Businesses can play a critical role in helping young people develop skills to boost their future job competitiveness, a sense of accountability, and a vision for their future," said Bobbi Silten, senior vice president, global responsibility at Gap, Inc. and president, Gap Foundation.
The website's toolkit supports the work of the White House Council for Community Solutions, established in 2010 to identify, encourage growth, and maximize the impact of cross-sector community initiatives that engage all citizens to help solve our nation's most serious problems.
To view the new website and toolkit, go to http://opportunitynation.org/pages/youth-employment-partnerships-toolkit.
New JFF Report Highlights Health Informatics as Growing Jobs Sector
Jobs for the Future (JFF) has released the new policy brief, "A Growing Jobs Sector: Health Informatics" this month. To enhance institutional decision making about program and course design, as well as the allocation of resources, Jobs for the Future has partnered with Burning Glass Technologies and a network of postsecondary institutions and systems that are “early adopters” of real-time labor market information. The report provides a framework for participating institutions to investigate an emerging sector for new program development and greater impact. Because standard occupational taxonomies and traditional sources of labor market information do not incorporate most health informatics occupations, the use of real-time LMI offers the only means to assess the needs and employment prospects for this rapidly emerging field.
The report, located at http://www.jff.org/sites/default/files/CTW_burning_glass_publication_052912.pdf, is part of the Credentials that Work initiative run by JFF. Credentials that Work utilizes innovations in the collection and use of real-time labor market information to assist community colleges and workforce development programs to evaluate and develop responsive programs of study and curriculum content, connecting them to current labor market needs and are aligned with regional economies. In a dynamic economic environment, where technology innovation and globalization are redefining the nature of work, those charged with developing the skills of the workforce must be able to assess labor market signals constantly using multiple sources of data and information.