Adult Reentry and Employment

Second Chance Act Adult Reentry and Employment Strategic Planning Program

This grant program provides funding for state correctional agencies, state administering agencies, and federally recognized tribal governments to integrate best practices in reentry and employment. It is part of the Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies pilot project, which seeks to test innovative approaches to reducing recidivism and increasing job readiness for people returning from incarceration. The program, administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), provides funding for strategic planning grants to replicate the framework developed in the pilot project. Upon completion of their strategic plans, award recipients will be invited by BJA to submit applications for 24-month 2019 Adult Reentry and Employment Implementation Program grants.

Objectives and Deliverables

The purpose of the Second Chance Act Adult Reentry and Employment Strategic Planning Program is to fund the development of strategic plans that are comprehensive, collaborative, and multisystemic in their approach to reduce recidivism and improve the employability of people returning to communities after incarceration. Plans should include an assessment of the current system as well as propose solutions to ensure that the grantee is making assessment-driven referrals to reentry and employment interventions and building foundations for successful transitions back to the community.

The developmental steps taken must facilitate the following:

  • Establishment of a cross-disciplinary, executive-level steering committee as well as a cross-disciplinary working group to guide the strategic planning process;
  • Completion of a comprehensive process analysis and systems mapping, including elements such as job readiness screenings and assessments, program referrals, and information-sharing processes, as well as an inventory of programs to ensure that they align with best practices;
  • Creation of an industry advisory group of employers to advise on program development and help promote direct connections to employment;
  • Improvement of existing program quality and development of new job trainings and education programs and services;
  • Support for coordinated transition and release planning using formal partnerships and data-sharing agreements and systems; and
  • Support for process and outcome evaluation efforts to add to the field’s knowledge about what works to improve employment and recidivism outcomes.

For more information, see the most recent BJA grant solicitation and webinar.

Second Chance Act Technology Career Training Grant Program

This program provided funding for states, units of local government, territories, and federally recognized tribal governments to support training for technology-related jobs and reentry planning and services, with the goal of increasing participants’ post-release employability in technology-driven occupations. Grantees were required to establish career training programs for incarcerated adults and/or juveniles during the 6- to 36-month period before their release from a prison, jail, or juvenile facility. Career training programs funded through this grant were required to include the following:

  • A formal partnership with a training entity (e.g., community college, job center, employment-focused reentry program) to provide job training in at least one correctional facility;
  • A moderate- to high-risk target population as identified using a validated assessment tool;
  • Job training in technology-driven occupational fields (e.g., auto mechanics, manufacturing, information technology) for which there was labor demand in the communities to which participants were returning; and
  • Individualized reentry plans and case management that linked participants to community-based services and employment support after release.

For more information, see the most recent BJA grant solicitation and webinar from 2016.

Current and Past Grantees

BJA has awarded 55 grants through these adult reentry and employment programs:

  • Technology Career Training Grant Program: 8 grants in 20106 grants in 20115 grants in 20129 grants in 20136 grants in 20144 grants in 2015; and 6 grants in 2016
  • Adult Reentry and Employment Strategic Planning Program11 grants in 2018
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