Tony Evers, Governor
Amy Pechacek, Secretary-designee
Department of Workforce Development
201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
Union Grove – Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Amy Pechacek and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes joined Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Kevin Carr to celebrate the opening of a new Job Center at Robert E. Ellsworth Correctional Center (REECC) and to call attention to the importance of justice-involved initiatives in Wisconsin. This opening marks the fifth collaboration between DWD and DOC.
"Many people in DOC care, unfortunately, will face the same challenges that resulted in their incarceration when they return to their communities upon release," DWD Secretary Amy Pechacek said. "Combining state agency efforts to provide robust justice-involved programming is an important way to break the cycle of recidivism and offer second chances for success."
REECC is a minimum-security facility entrusted with the custody and supervision of adult females. The new Job Center provides career readiness programs, job search assistance, resume development, services for veterans, apprenticeship opportunities, and educational and vocational training opportunities in many in-demand careers. It also offers assistance for people with disabilities. Those who use the Job Center can create a Job Center of Wisconsin (JCW) account, which allows them to look for jobs, apply, and set up interviews with employers while still in DOC care.
"This project is another example of state agencies coming together and connecting the dots," DOC Secretary Kevin Carr said. "Through our collaboration, the more than 400 persons in our care at REECC now have access to a host of programs and services, as well as the opportunity to connect directly with employers prior to release, and, in some cases, have job offers waiting for them when they return to their communities."
All three Wisconsin Women’s Correctional System facilities now have a Job Center. By the end of 2021, DOC expects to have Job Centers helping people at 11 of its institutions across the state.
The collaboration between DWD and DOC highlight innovative workforce solutions. "Projects like this are exactly the kind of things that help people get off the sidelines and into the workforce," WEDC Secretary & CEO Missy Hughes said. "The $100 million Workforce Innovation Grant Program announced by Gov. Evers last week encourages regions and communities to develop similarly creative, long-term solutions to workforce challenges that our state faces in the wake of COVID-19."