Delaware County awarded $1.5M federal grant for jobs program for formerly incarcerated people

George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Delaware County. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Delaware County. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has awarded the Delaware County Workforce Development Board a $1.5 million Pathway Home Program grant.

Funding will go towards providing training and workforce services over the next three years to people following their incarceration at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility.

“It is to do what we’ve been saying overarchingly about our goals for the county jail, which is to integrate it and to bring it into the 21st century in helping those who are at the jail to reenter society — and one of the key areas is the workplace,” Delco Councilmember Kevin Madden said following Friday’s announcement.

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Delco is one of just 18 municipalities nationwide to receive the Pathway Home Program grant this year.

“With this grant, we will be preparing folks who are eligible at the jail, both prior to the release and then after the release, to reenter the workforce. And that’s done through preparing them professionally, and then linking them up with employers within the county, who would be a good fit for the reentrant,” Madden said.

People who are incarcerated at the county prison will get a needs assessment and development plans that are individually tailored to them. They’ll also be assigned a case manager to help navigate them through different career paths and prepare them for the job. One-on-one counseling and assistance will be available to help with the transition out of the prison.

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Once they are released, the formerly incarcerated people will have the opportunity to be linked to employers as well as be given skill-building services, occupational training, and pathways to earn credentials and any needed certifications.

In a press release announcing the grant, Laura Williams, the new warden of the George W. Hill Correctional Facility said that it will “significantly improve support of our population and the community.”

“The timing of this grant is exciting for the institution as the facility continues to enhance existing programs and introduce additional opportunities to break the cycle of criminogenic behavior,” Williams said.

Although it will take some time to reach its full capacity, the project officially starts later this month.

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