Federal Grant to Help Put Ex-Offenders Back to Work

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Federal Grant to Help Put Ex-Offenders Back to Work

Labor Department award will subsidize paychecks at Indy recycling plant

(INDIANAPOLIS) - An Indianapolis program to help ex-convicts get jobs has gotten a boost from the U-S Department of Labor.

For two decades, RecycleForce has specialized in providing first jobs to ex-offenders. A one-and-a-half-million-dollar federal grant will
cover the paychecks of 190 more workers. 

Founder and president Gregg Keesling says half the people released from Indiana prisons end up going right back, in some cases because they can't keep up with the costs of transition programs. He says a steady job is the best way to prevent that.

Keesling says parole and probation offices help with the easier placements, but it's harder to line up employers for workers who need to miss work frequently for issues related to their release, from drug treatment to anger management classes. He says RecycleForce is designed to work around those scheduling challenges. As court-ordered oversight tapers off, workers can move on to better jobs.

Keesling says he'd like to see state funding to create similar programs in other parts of Indiana.

(Photo: sakhorn38/Thinkstock)

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