Milwaukee County to study strategies for workforce reentry

Milwaukee is one of two counties chosen to receive assistance from the National Reentry Resource Center to develop plans to improve the workforce reentry process for those with criminal records.

The NRRC is a project of the Council of State Governments Justice Center. It will offer technical assistance and resources to help Milwaukee and Philadelphia counties assess the needs of individuals reentering society and develop clear plans to provide them with sustainable support.

Milwaukee is a pilot community for a national study the NRRC is conducting on reentry best practices.

“This new initiative is an exciting opportunity for Wisconsin, as a national expert comes alongside the innovators in our state agencies to develop best practices and policies for reentry,” said Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. “Good reentry policies are a triple win: They enhance public safety by reducing recidivism, they support our economy by connecting willing workers to open jobs, and they support success for people as they return to our communities.”

The Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board will work with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections to develop strategies and attract funding to the effort.

“Ask a person in prison or jail to name the most important thing they need to succeed in the community when they’re released. The response will almost always be the same: ‘I need a job,’” said John Wetzel, secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections and a member of the CSG Justice Center’s Board of Directors. “It’s these data-driven strategies that will get to the heart of the problem.”

“We are excited to be supporting this groundbreaking work in Philadelphia and Milwaukee counties,” said Denise O’Donnell, director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance. “Considerable work remains to position the workforce development community, and their partners in the corrections and reentry fields, to translate this research and information into policy and practice. This is a great step toward achieving concrete results.”

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