The Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies Pilot Project

This three-year pilot project tests innovative strategies to reduce recidivism and increase job readiness for people returning to their communities after incarceration. It focuses on operationalizing a level of cross-systems coordination among corrections and workforce-development agencies and community-based service providers on a scale rarely seen in the field. The theory being tested is that by applying resources based on an assessment-driven referral process, recidivism and employment outcomes will improve. Thus, the IRES pilot project has the potential to influence both correctional and workforce programming across the country by providing a replicable framework for organizing systems in a cost-effective way.

The pilot project is underway in two sites:

Milwaukee County, Wisconsin The Wisconsin Department of Corrections and Employ Milwaukee are leading the project, which will create a framework to help parole and probation officers match people being released from state correctional facilities into Milwaukee County to the appropriate workforce development services in the community. Read the first-year executive summary and implementation recommendations for the site here.

Palm Beach County, Florida The Palm Beach County Public Safety Department is leading the project to ensure that people returning to the county from state and county correctional facilities are referred to appropriate workforce services and that the service providers have the capacity to meet the needs of the population. Read the first-year executive summary and implementation recommendations for the site here. The questions being answered in both sites are:

What are the risk and job-readiness profiles of adults returning to the counties from correctional facilities? How do assessments inform the services a person receives, and how are connections to those services made? What services are available in the community, and how well do they meet the risk and job-readiness needs of this population?

Technical Assistance Approach

The National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC) is working with a team of expert partners to provide technical assistance (TA) to both pilot sites for the length of the project. The TA providers gather information, plan activities, and guide the pilot sites through the implementation process to ensure that existing resources are leveraged in an impactful and sustainable way. A process and impact evaluation will be conducted to ensure that the field benefits from the lessons learned from the pilot sites.

The TA team brings together policy analysts, program developers, and researchers, and receives assistance from expert consultants, including the Heartland Alliance National Transitional Jobs Network and the National Institute of Corrections.

View Document [PDF] Four Questions Communities Should Consider When Implementing a Collaborative Approach This document highlights information gleaned from the first year of the IRES pilot project. The document’s four featured questions can be used to facilitate conversations with key stakeholders about their community’s ability to integrate the efforts of criminal justice and workforce-development systems. The questions are also designed to help communities determine what reentry and employment services are available to meet the needs of people returning after incarceration.