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March 28, 2014

Mayor Emanuel More Than Doubles Jobs and Training for Formerly Incarcerated Inidividuals Since Taking Office

St. Leonard's Ministries meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that the City is making significant investments in programs that serve formerly incarcerated individuals, providing critical jobs, training, and support to nearly 2,200 individuals, more than doubling the 900 served in 2011. This is part of the Administration’s coordinated effort to expand opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals and support their reentry into society.
 
“Serving time in jail or prison should not mean that you forfeit your opportunity to turn your life around.  Formerly incarcerated individuals who have paid their debt and are willing to work hard deserve a second chance at success,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This is why I have made significant investments in programs that give formerly incarcerated individuals the jobs, training, and support they need to return to their communities.”
 
Since taking office the Emanuel Administration has made significant investments in providing jobs and training to the formerly incarcerated.  In 2014, City programs will serve nearly 2200 formerly incarcerated individuals, more than double the 900 served in 2011. These programs include:

  • CTA Second Chance Program: In 2013, the Chicago Transit Authority nearly quadrupled its Second Chance program, creating 265 rail and bus apprenticeship opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals. In 2014, the program will remain level and provide 265 jobs.
  • Job placement: City-funded job placement programs helped approximately 650 formerly incarcerated individuals find jobs during 2013. The City will maintain this placement level for 2014.
  • City employment: 110 transitional jobs with City departments that help formerly incarcerated individuals receive valuable training and build real career experience.  In addition to a 7-month work experience, participants also receive professional development services as well as intensive therapeutic services.
  • Green Corps for Chicago Parks:  In 2014, the Chicago Park District will partner with Green Corps to employ 25 formerly incarcerated individuals to perform landscape work at the City’s parks.
  • A Safe Haven Landscape Work: A Safe Haven provides landscaping, snow removal and related maintenance services to the City that collectively employ 25 formerly incarcerated individuals.  In 2013, the City of Chicago paid A Safe Haven over $800,000 through its contract and anticipates spending the same amount in 2014.  This work will continue in 2014 and the Public Building Commission has announced that it signed a $100,000 contract with A Safe Haven to provide landscaping work at PBC project sites.
  • Colleges to Careers: City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) has formed strategic partnerships with leading re-entry providers to connect individuals returning from prison to training for careers in growing sectors.  In the 2013-14 academic year, these programs served approximately 100 individuals.  These programs will serve 200 formerly incarcerated individuals in the 2014-15 academic year.
  • Other Workforce Services:  Over the past few years, the City has provided case management services to roughly 300 formerly incarcerated individuals each year through its two re-entry support centers.  In 2014, the City will add two re-entry centers and triple the number individuals served, reaching 900 formerly incarcerated individuals through four re-entry centers.

"You had that watershed moment where you made a decision, but on the other side there was someone to help you," said Congressman Danny Davis. "If they get help, the recidivism rate goes down and can go down by practically nothing if the person has a job."

In partnership with State Senator Patricia Van Pelt the City has successfully fought to triple the state employer tax incentive for hiring formerly incarcerated individuals from $600 per hire to $1,500 per hire.

"Providing the formerly incarcerated with the jobs, skills, and support they need to become productive members of their communities is common sense," said Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago), "These programs and incentives will help us rebuild neighborhoods, strengthen families and ensure opportunities for all residents.”

Mayor Emanuel also announced that the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) will launch a pilot family reunification program in partnership with reentry providers that will allow 50 formerly incarcerated individuals to move back into CHA housing over the next three years. This pilot program will connect rehabilitated formerly incarcerated individuals who are stable and on a path to self-sufficiency to move in with their family members in Public Housing.

Download Official Mayor's Office Press Release

Photo courtesy of Brooke Collins - City of Chicago