Cape Fear Community College has received a nearly $4 million grant to ready prisoners for the workforce.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced
that the college was among several recipients in a round of grants totaling more than $85.5 million to help improve employment outcomes for inmates inside or coming out of the criminal justice system, according to a news release.
“For Cape Fear Community College, this is our largest grant ever that we have received,” CFCC President Jim Morton said Wednesday.
The three-year grant will help support education and training for at least 400 inmates in correctional institutions in New Hanover and Pender counties, as well as pre-and post-release case management, administrative support services and instructors for the grant program, Morton said.
CFCC was the only recipient in the state to receive the Pathway Home grant, which according to a news release, supports “expanded services to eligible, incarcerated individuals in state correctional facilities or local jails prior- and post-release to help eliminate the gap between release and enrollment into a reentry program leading to employment.”
The maximum grant amount is $4 million.
The college is working with several community partners on the grant program, including Cape Fear Workforce Development Board, Premier Electrical Staffing, David Porter Trucking and TA Woods Co.
The college is also working with Leading into New Communities (LINC) Inc., a local nonprofit providing transitional living and case management services for men and women out of prison, as well as youth development services for Black men ages 16 to 24.
Morton said that the college and its partners worked on the grant application and submitted it back in March.
The grant will support training for those incarcerated in New Hanover and Pender counties, both training while in prison and afterward to “help fast-track them into the workforce,” Morton said.
The grant also "supports some positions that will help us fund some instructors who will be working with the prison system,” he added.
The program will support prisoner training in several areas, including masonry, construction, electrical, horticulture and landscaping, as well as truck driver training. Prisoners will also have a chance to earn high school-level education, get a GED or diploma.
Work in the prison system is not new to the college. CFCC already provides training in the prisons, and the grant will help support those efforts, he said.
The grant program will also provide incentive awards to prisoners who continue training, get gainful employment and continue employment over a certain period of time, Morton said.
“So, there is other support funding for the individual,” he added.
The college looks to begin hiring instructors to work within the grant program this summer and will launch grant work as soon as possible, Morton said.
“We train and educate folks from high school throughout life. We want to help everyone, and this is a segment of the population that we've been pursuing in trying to help those who have been incarcerated back to gainful employment to be independent," Morton said. "And we're very excited about this opportunity, and look forward to helping as many as we can."