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(Lawrenceville, Ga., March 7, 2017) – Vocational support and employment training will continue for inmates at the Gwinnett County Comprehensive Correctional Complex. Commissioners on Tuesday approved the department to submit a proposal for a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act grant of $86,600 from the Atlanta Regional Commission and to accept a contract if funding is awarded.

The Gwinnett facility is the only prison in Georgia that receives these funds for its inmate programs. “Since 1997, the resources available through WIOA have made a positive impact on prison inmates,” said Warden Darrell Johnson. “Over the years, the program has provided funds, personnel and textbooks. I’m extremely pleased with the program’s success and the opportunities it offers to offenders returning to our community.”

In 2016, inmates received more than 6,000 hours of vocational training, job-search skills, and on-the-job training in barbering, carpentry, food service, ServSafe and forklift operations. Inmates receive work-ready certifications after completing their training from partners such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Restaurant Association, and Central Georgia Technical College.

ARC statistics from 2016 showed that 88 percent of participating inmates were gainfully employed during the 12-month period following their release and earned an average of $13.50 per hour, which is above the goal performance measure. WIOA Program Coordinator Shontese Wilson said, “Our goal is to assist offenders by helping transform their mindset and prepare them with marketable skills that will be competitive in today’s world.”