EL CENTRO – In an effort to improve workforce outcomes for transitioning incarcerated individuals, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors voted to approve a memorandum of understanding between the Imperial County Workforce Development Office and the Imperial County Probation Department Tuesday during the regular board meeting.
The Imperial County Workforce Development Office (ICWDO) will provide career service through a jail- based specialized American’s Job Center located within the Imperial County Day Reporting Center for a two-year term from April 1, 2016 through March 31, 2018.
“Incarcerated individuals or formerly incarcerated individuals face many challenges they need to overcome in order to return to the workforce,” said Miguel Figueroa, director of the Workforce Development Office.
ICWDO will provide regular employability courses and activities including career assessments, job applications, interview techniques, work ethic training, job retention and other information related to succeeding in the labor market. This will also provide economic and social sustainability for local residents and businesses in addition to decreasing the number of unskilled transitioning offenders in Imperial County.
“This partnership that we are embarking on is going to address the needs of the population at the Day Reporting Center,” said Figueroa. “I believe in terms of workforce development services. There are plenty that we can offer to this population. This is going to be a benefit that is going to be measurable in the months to come.”
According to Figueroa, during the two-year program, the ICWDO will gauge how the population has benefited from the services received from the Workforce Development staff.
“Initially the plan is to make sure that we provide the essential services to all of our clients,” said Figueroa. “They are, as you know, having a challenge getting back into the workforce field in our county and we are here to serve and assist them through our services.”
Imperial County Chief Probation Officer Daniel Prince said he was very excited to include the workforce investment office as a partner with current services being provided at the Reporting Center under the observation of the Probation Department.
“I am very happy to add the ICWDO to our current partners that include the Sheriff’s Office, Behavioral Health, child support office, and the library,” said Prince. “With the assistance of our partners, individuals coming out of the county jail transition successfully to jobs.”
District 1 Supervisor John Renison said it was all about cooperation and helping one another. “We are helping the overall silent problems that we do have in a positive way,” he said.
“This is so important for incarcerated people in order for them to be able to stay outside,” said District 5 Supervisor Ray Castillo. “Having employment or under the process of employment really goes a long way. This is a very important and a really good program.”