Ex-criminal offenders in the St. Louis region will get assistance in finding jobs through two new grants from the Department of Labor.
The Fathers' Support Center received a $1.4 million grant, and the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment is working with the Center to create more job training opportunities for former felons. The “Training to Work – Adult Reentry” grant will fund job training through Ranken Technical College.
Halbert Sullivan, CEO of the Fathers' Support Center, feels that proper training and a second chance is key in ensuring that former felons can find jobs and be an example to their children,
“Children will model what they see their parents do first. And when they see and hear that their parents has been involved in a training program, then they too are more likely to stay involved in school and things like that," he says.
Additionally, SLATE received a grant for over $800,000 dollars to help create job opportunities and mentorship for youth. SLATE will put out a request for proposals from three organizations to work with youth through the Innovative Concept Academy.
The Missouri Department of Corrections reported that in 2011 over 50 percent of offenders fell back into criminal behavior in St. Louis. The grants were introduced today at an event held at nonprofit Fathers’ Support Center, whose programs include a six-week Responsible Fatherhood Project.
Judge Jimmie Edwards, creator of the Innovative Concept Academy, says that the program will help to further positive images for youth to emulate.
“In many instances, what these kids see is only bad," Edwards said. "So this will give them an opportunity to experience more positive behaviors and because they’re experiencing more positive behaviors they get exposed to more positive things and thus they become more positive people."
The grants are over $2 million total and the programs will operate over the next three years.
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