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Tony Evers, Governor
Caleb Frostman, Secretary

Department of Workforce Development
Secretary's Office

201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
Email: sec@dwd.wisconsin.gov

Monday, June 24, 2019
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/news/
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Awarded the Fidelity Bonding Demonstration Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) was awarded a $100,000 Fidelity Bonding Demonstration Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) this week.

The grant funds will be used to purchase fidelity bonds to assist former offenders obtain employment, including former offenders recovering from opioid and other drug addictions. According to the Estimated Offender Data by DOL and WIOA Adult formula program for the next four years, Wisconsin will have an estimated 5,519 offenders who may be eligible for fidelity bonding services.

Fidelity bonds are business insurance policies that protect employers in case of any loss of money or property due to employee dishonesty. It gives an employer assurance that the hired former offender will not be a risk to the employer. The bond is given to the employer free-of-charge and serves as an incentive to the company to hire job applicants whose backgrounds usually lead employers to question their honesty and deny them a job, such as ex-offenders and ex-addicts, as well as people who have poor personal credit, persons who lack a work history, and individuals who were dishonorably discharged from the military.

DWD's fidelity bonding program plans to serve 1,000 additional former offenders over four years with the grant funding.

"Quality jobs allow former offenders to earn a self-supporting, living wage." said Secretary Caleb Frostman. “Employment and the associated economic independence from a living wage are among the most effective antidotes to recidivism."

In November 2018, a partnership between DWD and Wisconsin's Department of Corrections (DOC) opened a first-of-its-kind job center in Oakhill Correctional Institution. The partnership between the two agencies connected the dots between reducing recidivism rates and creatively addressing Wisconsin's workforce shortage. The Fidelity Bonding Demonstration Grant will continue Wisconsin's efforts to find creative solutions to assist former offenders and offer them a second chance to secure employment with a job-hire incentive for employers.

ETA provides numerous grants that offer job training, career pathways, credential attainment, and employment opportunities to millions of people seeking employment and training services in the U.S.