|Flanked by Nancy Dischinat on the left, and John brown and Bob Werner on the right,|
Corrections Director Dan Keen announces $500,000 Grant For Mini Career Center at jail.
Yes, he is one big dude.
Statewide, Montgomery County and its Workforce Investment Board will also receive a $500,000 grant.
Nancy Dischinat, who is the Executive Director at the Workforce Investment Board, cobbled together the grant application with Keen. "This is so cool!" she exclaimed at a recent news conference announcing the award.. Acknowledging that there are "serious barriers," she nevertheless insisted that "the jobs are going to be there. It's all about jobs. It's all about putting people to work."
The grant will fund a staff of four people from the Workforce Investment Board, inside the jail. establishing individual plans over the next two years. Keen stated inmates can be trained to drive forklifts or receive SafeServe certifications from the restaurant industry. Those programs used to exist at the jail, according to long-time corrections officers.
This program will be available for up to 212 inmates at any one time in a jail with a population of about 689. The goal is to keep released inmates from returning.
According to Keen, each inmate costs the County about $36,000 a year.
Dischinat, who hopes to have a program up and running within the next four to six months, stated there will be a sustainability plan in place to determine whether the program is really working. If it does, Executive John Brown said he would ask Council to support funding the program after the grant expires.
Victor Schmidt, President of the 950-member Lehigh valley Chapter of the Society for Professional Human Resource Management, explained that the grant effectively creates a "mini career center" inside the jail. "We will be helping to find the jobs and support the training," he promised.
The award was also praised by Council member Bob Werner, who called it a positive sign.