TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - The Prison Re-entry Program (PREP) creates a new pipeline for West Alabama companies to find employees after they’ve been released from state prison.
These new potential workers are inmates from Bibb County Correctional Facility.
“[The program is set up] to identify offenders that could complete a program that would qualify them to go to work in some of the fields we have available,” said Russell Dubose, Human Resources Director for Phifer Incorporated.
Dubose said between 5-20 former inmates are now working in jobs that required welding and multi-craft mechanics training, among others.
It's a partnership between West Alabama Works, Shelton State Community College, Life Link LLC and the Alabama Department of Corrections.
“In the faith-based community, with the core program, it can actually work on behavioral profiles of the ex-offenders. And then with the ready to work program, it helps them with the essential skills they need to be successful,” Donny Jones, Executive Director of West Alabama Works, explained.
It's a two-year program.
At the end of year two, inmates must complete a six-month Ready to Work Program taught by Shelton State Community College.
Those inmates are then lined up for jobs with local companies who are participating in the PREP.
"At the end of those two years, our ex-offenders, when they parole out of prison, then they are aligned to many of our participating employers where they can enter into full time employment, earn a livable wage and be successful," Dubose continued.
Businesses that participate in PREP are also eligible for federal money that pays for on the job training and work-based learning.
Organizers also see the program as one that ensure ex-cons won’t wind up back in jail because they have good jobs making good money.