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Bridgeport Nonprofit Gains $500,000 Grant

York Correctional Facility is where the job-preparedness programs will be offered.
York Correctional Facility is where the job-preparedness programs will be offered. Photo Credit: State of Connecticut

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Mayor Joe Ganim has announced that The WorkPlace, a nonprofit organization based in Bridgeport, has been awarded a $500,000 federal grant by the U.S. Department of Labor for its efforts to prepare women inmates at the York Correctional Institute for release.

The York facility is a women’s prison in Niantic, and The WorkPlace has worked in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Corrections and the city of Bridgeport preparing inmates for release and helping with job preparedness once ex-offenders are released and back into the community.

Specifically, The WorkPlace will use the grant to conduct the Linking to Employment Activities Pre-release Program. This two-year project at York will serve 125 female inmates in a 20-town region.

“This awarding of this grant is a huge boost that will help a key piece of our local second-chance initiative,” said Ganim. “The WorkPlace under the direction of Joe Carbone has been a leader for years helping inmates prepare for release and all the burdens they will face post-incarceration, and their work has great positive impact on our community."

The WorkPlace was one of only 10 applicants nationally that were funded. This is their fourth grant award in the re-entry sector in the last year. The funds will be matched with three federal Second Chance competitive grants.

Carbone, president and CEO of The WorkPlace, said, “We are grateful for the opportunity to provide gender-focused, intensive workforce development services, along with connections to other resources to prepare female inmates for employment with the necessary supports upon release.”

The program will provide female inmates with gender-focused intensive workforce development and training. Program staff will also facilitate the formation of post-release peer groups. Employment development specialists will assess participants to develop individual service strategies and each participant will receive an individual employment plan.

The funds will also be used to help establish a pilot entrepreneurial training center for returning citizens. They will further be used to establish a subsidized employment program in support of the fifteen local employers who publicly committed to hiring returning citizens.

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