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Grant Enables PROVEN Program to Expand
Date: March 19, 2016 09:52AM

Grant Enables PROVEN Program to Expand

In 2013, Western Technical College in La Crosse, Wisconsin was one of only three organizations in the country to receive a Department of Education grant focused on bridging the gap between prison and community-based education and training programs.

The funding was used to expand existing educational opportunities Western offered in the La Crosse County Jail. It allowed the college develop community partnerships that would help incarcerated individuals overcome barriers to completing their education.

The successful program led to a second grant in 2015, called PROVEN to Work, which is part of the Improved Re-Entry Education grant through the Department of Education. PROVEN stands for Positive Reentry Offered through Vocation- and Education-Focused Narratives. This three-year, $1 million grant will continue the work of the first PROVEN grant and expand services beyond La Crosse County to Monroe and Trempealeau County Jails.

The additional funding will also focus on building career pathways through educational opportunities in the jail and increasing transition into programs at Western. The goal is to create an easy transition from classroom experience to workplace experience by developing industry-recognized credentials that can serve as a first step to increasing levels of education and skill attainment. This approach allows students with barriers to have multiple entry points to college programs and the opportunity to build on their education without losing ground while they navigate obstacles.

This unique hybrid of career education and program offerings ladders into employment areas to create job stability and, ultimately, to decrease recidivism.

For more information on the IRE grants and Re-Entry Education Model, read the White House Fact Sheet or the U.S. Department of Education’s Implementation Study.

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