Michigan’s prison population continues a very favorable downward trend, and that means that more people will be making their way back to local communities across the state in search of employment opportunities. One of the most successful prisoner re-entry programs in the entire state is right here in Michigan’s Great Southwest, and it just got a nice boost from Chemical Bank to help continue that success.
Michigan Works Berrien, Cass, Van Buren says that Chemical Bank is providing a $15 thousand donation to their highly resourceful Offender Success program to help more people be successful back home.
Consistently ranked as one of Michigan’s top prisoner re-entry initiatives, Offender Success provides comprehensive services to more than 1,200 individuals a year. Serving an area of eight counties in lower Michigan, Offender Success provides nearly 25,000 services to the returning population, helping individuals remove barriers and gain employment and stability in their lives.
Chemical Bank Community President Bob Burch says, “One of our goals was to provide some assistance to the workforce development area this year, and Offender Success is a proven winner. We are glad that even more people can be helped and gain the support they need.” The donation was made from Chemical Bank’s Community Impact Fund.
Lily Brewer is Executive Director of Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren. She says, “Chemical Bank’s support will help us as we provide reentry interventions with a focus on emergency housing and workforce development. Our goal is that every offender released will have the tools needed to succeed in the community and the opportunity to be productive, self-sufficient citizens. Ultimately, that makes our communities safer.” Brewer adds, “A big thank you to Chemical Bank for their support of this very important initiative in southwest Michigan.”
Deke Knuth is the Director of the Offender Success program. He says, “We assist in four different areas – employment, mental health, social support, and residential stability.” Knuth reports, “The targeted interventions aim to reduce crime by having a seamless plan of services, supervision, and opportunities developed with each person with the goal of gaining employment and becoming self-sufficient. We have been successful in reducing recidivism and building a great support network.”
Michigan Works! of Berrien, Cass, Van Buren is part of a statewide network of workforce development boards. Michigan Works! specializes in educating, training, and employing individuals of all ages. They work with local businesses to find out what keeps them up at night and help them tackle the most pressing challenges they may face, including attracting and retaining talent. For more information, you can visit online at www.miworks.org.