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$1.5 million grant to improve employment outcomes for people involved in the Justice System

Forward Careers has received a $1.5 million, three-year Pathway Home grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand services to eligible, incarcerated individuals in state correctional facilities or local jails to help eliminate the gap between release and enrollment into a reentry program leading to employment. The award is one of 28 grants issued across the nation totaling $85.5 million.

Project RENEW (Revitalizing & Empowering the Next Employable Workforce) is designed to provide comprehensive pre- and post-release services to individuals; incarcerated at the Milwaukee County House of Corrections; who will be released within Southeastern Wisconsin. Forward Careers will provide career planning, barrier assessment, job preparation and development, and wrap around supportive services for successful employment opportunities utilizing on-the-job training and apprenticeship connections.

“This grant will allow us to pursue the important work of preparing these individuals for employment while reaching out to businesses to encourage them to become second chance employers. During this period of labor shortage this is truly a “win-win” project,” said Steve Holtan, chairman of Forward Careers.

On an annual basis, the Milwaukee County House of Corrections sees anywhere from 21,000 to 24,000 incarcerated individuals. Project RENEW will serve 150 individuals over two years of programing and one year of follow-up.

“We are very pleased to receive this award to help justice served individuals get back on their feet and contribute to the prosperity of their communities,” said Cindy Simons, president of Forward Careers. “Project RENEW will enhance reentry initiatives and open doors of opportunity for these individuals that will have real and positive impacts for our region.”

Forward Careers and the Milwaukee House of Corrections will start planning for the next phases of the grant and program enrollments are slated to start in late 2021. As progress is made, details can be found at

About Forward Careers

Forward Careers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with over 30 years of experience administering and providing employment and training services across Southeastern Wisconsin. Established in 1990, our mission is to develop a thriving workforce and strong economy by being the preferred source for career exploration, education, skills training, and employment connections to every person and business.



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