1st participants of jail re-entry, employment program graduate

1st participants of jail re-entry, employment program graduate

The first participants in a program designed to increase participants’ chances of success and employment after being released from jail have graduated.

Four men celebrated the completion of the 17-week program Windows to Work on Tuesday.

The Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin was awarded $500,000 in grant money last June from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide re-entry services using the Windows to Work model, according to a release.

The career counseling process starts while people are incarcerated, but additional support continues after the participant returns to the community, officials said. A career coach will help participants make the transition to community Job Center Services for follow-up support and services.

The first graduates from the program are 28-year-old Joshua James Colt, of Madison; 19-year-old Derrick Bowman, of Madison; 35-year-old William Denis, of Madison; and 30-year-old William Drago, of Stoughton.

“The Windows to Work program is a prime example of the types of programming we need to reduce recidivism in our criminal justice system. Quality and sustainable employment, along with a sense of community, will help keep our jail population down,” Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney said in the release.

The goal of the program is to serve 180 people in two years, according to the release.