New job program to help inmates transition into community

Dane County Public Safety Building

A new jail-based job center at the Dane County Jail will serve 100 participants over 18 months thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, according to a release.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced Thursday the creation of the Dane County Jail-based Job Center, which is modeled after the Windows to Work initiative.

The Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin was awarded a $500,000 grant to create the job center at the Dane County Jail, according to the release.

“At the end of the day, what people need is a job and they need a good-paying job so they can get back on their feet and they can get back on track,” Parisi said.

The job center will provide career services before inmates are released that are connected to post-release community-based job center services, officials said. Participants will be assigned to a jail-based career coach that will provide prerelease services and support post-release services to assist in the transition from incarceration to community.

“This is the kind of partnership, the kind of collaboration that’s necessary to move forward, to address not only the disparities we have in our jails, but providing opportunities for those folks to be successful because sometimes folks just need a second chance,” Parisi said.

Prerelease assistance will include cognitive intervention, general work skills and expectations, financial literacy, community resources and coaching for job-seeking applications and resumes, according to the release. The career coach will transition participants who move to job placement to the community job center services.