On June 29 the Little Rock Workforce Development Board (LRWDB) was awarded a $2 million grant from the Department of Labor to provide training and employment services to adults reentering the workforce following incarceration as part of the Rock City Reentry Program.
Labor Secretary, Marty Walsh, personally announced the funding during a visit to Little Rock, which received a warm reception from local community leaders. Walsh came to Little Rock to promote the Biden Administration’s Good Jobs Initiative, part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. During his remarks, Walsh stated, “These grants will help people who are working for second chances, they’re about reducing crime. They’re also about meeting the needs of the local labor markets, like here in Little Rock.”
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jay Chesshir echoed Walsh’s sentiments when speaking with local business leaders at the event, hosted by Philander Smith College.Mayor Scott said, “That’s the reason why we’re growing our city, with close to 8,000 jobs that’s come, they’ve all been high wages. That’s the reason also the City of Little Rock has put forth a $15 minimum wage policy as well, hoping that other businesses will follow suit.”
The LRWDB is one of 18 organizations to receive a portion of $50 million in funding from the Labor Department’s Pathway Home grant program. Pathway Home grants will allow organizations to provide training and employment services to incarcerated people who are scheduled for release within 20 to 270 days from the time they enroll in the project. They also seek to improve coordination between key partners in the reentry process, including workforce development agencies, community and state corrections agencies, jails, local health and human service providers, employers and unions. The grant period begins on July 1, 2022 and extends through December 31, 2025.
What a proud moment for the LRWDB and Rock City Reentry Project!