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New Grant Will Fund Job Training For Inmates In A Jail In Southwest Washington


A new program in Southwest Washington will offer job training and employment assistance to people in jail. It’s aimed at helping them land on their feet once they get out. 

Getting a job after being incarcerated can be really hard. Studies have shown that employers are much less willing to hire people with a criminal record.

A Vancouver-based nonprofit called Workforce Southwest Washington has just received a $500,000 federal grant to help inmates in Clark County jail prepare to find work when they get released.

"We’ll help them get their resume polished up, we’ll help them deal with some of those kinds of issues that they may be having such as mental health issues or drug abuse issues, helping them create a life plan so that when they come out on the other end, we have got them in the mindset of getting a job right away," said Jeanne Bennett, CEO of Workforce Southwest Washington.

Bennett said her group will have two employment specialists based at the Clark County Sheriff’s office to work with inmates, and Clark College will offer job training courses within the jail. She says the program should be up and running by this fall. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.