Twin Cities Rise Gets $1.5M to Help Ex-Prisoners Find Jobs

Reentry Connect, a collaboration between Twin Cities Rise! and RS Eden, will use the funding to provide work force development assistance to previously incarcerated women.

Minneapolis-based nonprofit Twin Cities Rise! (TCR) recently announced that it is part of a partnership that will receive a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The grant was awarded to Reentry Connect, a collaboration between TCR, which trains under-employed and unemployed people for placement in long-term jobs, and RS Eden, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that provides services in the areas of chemical dependency, family services, corrections, and affordable housing.

Reentry Connect will act as a “service hub” through which formerly incarcerated women can receive assistance as they transition back to their communities and seek employment. Services include integrated case management, work skills development, job placement assistance, and “personal empowerment” training from TCR.

The award totals $1.5 million and will be distributed over the course of two-and-a-half years. It represents a share of $12.1 million that the U.S. Department of Labor is distributing to provide employment and support services for previously incarcerated women throughout the country.

Reentry Connect was one of only nine grant winners—and the only Minnesota recipient.

The program will involve collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Corrections and the Ramsey and Hennepin County corrections departments, as well as local educational, training, and health services providers, TCR said.

“We are honored and grateful, in partnership with RS Eden, to receive the Department of Labor grant funding,” TCR President and CEO Art Berman said in a statement. “We will implement a new service model, integrating RS Eden’s case management expertise, our personal empowerment and work skills training capabilities, and the support of several other service providers to more effectively address the special needs of female ex-offenders.”

TCR was founded in 1994 by Steve Rothschild, a former senior executive at General Mills. It trains participants in writing, speaking, math, computers, and test support, and it follows a pay-for-performance model, whereby it receives state funding in exchange for meeting certain goals.