Getting one-time Vermont inmates back on the job can come with challenges.
"One of the great barriers I have seen over the last few years is when people are released from prison they may have skills, but there is no linkage to a job," said Wilhelmina Picard, the director of education for the Vt. Corrections Department.
This week Gov. Peter Shumlin announced plans to take on the problem with hopes of keeping people from returning to prison.
"We as a state have launched an aggressive war on recidivism," said Shumlin, D-Vermont.
The state is combining its Community High School of Vermont-- a program that educates young people in the custody of the department of Corrections-- with the Vermont Correctional Industries program, one that focuses on tangible trade skills. The goal is to have a coordinated effort to get folks working once they're released.
"What we are hoping to do is take it from the social academic, technical to an internship and then directly into employment when they walk out the door," Picard said.
The new streamlined effort will serve about 2,500 offenders a year. It is slated to save taxpayers money by consolidating resources and reallocating staff.
"By merging these entities we believe we can save $600,000, better concentrate our efforts and redefine the programs to ensure that they are serving us well," Shumlin said.
The initiative will expand the focus on skills connected to jobs in high demand like working in the food and hospitality industry, auto-tech and small engine repair.
"We are realistic and right to the point with people. If you have certain convictions you can't participate. If you have drug convictions, you can't be a nurse. If you have a felony, you can't be a hairdresser," Picard said.
Participants will also work on creating small business plans and make preparations for independent living.
Folks overseeing the retraining say they're looking at the new development at and around Jay Peak as a possible source for jobs for program participants.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 7:20 AM EDT2013-05-22 11:20:51 GMT
Sheriffs say a body found floating in the waters off the Florida Keys is that of a Vermonter. The Monroe County Sheriff's office says early Sunday morning, two people fishing off a bridge reported seeingMore >>
Sheriffs say a body found floating in the waters off the Florida Keys is that of a Vermonter.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 11:22 PM EDT2013-05-22 03:22:19 GMT
Residents in Sheffield say the news that three men have admitted to killing Pat O'Hagan in 2010 came as a shock, but it's information they thought would have come sooner. "A certain measure of reliefMore >>
Residents in Sheffield say the news that three men have admitted to killing Pat O'Hagan in 2010 came as a shock, but it's information they thought would have come sooner.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 8:00 PM EDT2013-05-22 00:00:26 GMT
"It's right up there the top of the list of frustrating cases," said Bill Sorrell, D-Vt. Attorney General. Investigators say they've had three suspects in Pat O'Hagan's death since shortly after the Sheffield grandmotherMore >>
Federal court filings show the state may never charge the suspects in the murder of a Vt. grandmother, because there is not enough evidence. But the state's top prosecutor says convicting Pat O'Hagan's killers is still a top priority.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 4:50 PM EDT2013-05-21 20:50:11 GMT
A St. Albans teen will spend at least a couple of years behind bars for a DUI accident that killed his passenger. James Companion, 17, changed his plea to guilty Tuesday. Companion told investigators heMore >>
A St. Albans teen will spend at least a couple of years behind bars for a DUI accident that killed his passenger.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:32 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:32:20 GMT
A former animal control officer charged with two counts of prohibited acts was arraigned Tuesday morning. Gary Francis is accused of asking two women to show him their breasts for money. Francis pleadedMore >>
A former animal control officer was in court Tuesday, charged with soliciting women to expose themselves.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 5:48 PM EDT2013-05-21 21:48:12 GMT
A pair of siblings pleaded innocent to a string of burglaries in Rutland that police say funded their heroin addiction. Todd Miller, 28, and his sister Amanda Miller, 30, pleaded not guilty. The pair isMore >>
A pair of siblings pleaded innocent to a string of burglaries in Rutland that police say funded their heroin addiction.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:03 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:03:49 GMT
A Middlebury man has pleaded not guilty to federal arson charges stemming from a fire at a Pittsford car dealership back in July 2011. Police said they found 29-year-old Steven Browne behind the wheelMore >>
A Middlebury man has pleaded not guilty to federal arson charges stemming from a fire at a Pittsford car dealership back in July 2011.More >>