LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has received a $2 million federal grant to help people re-enter the workforce after time spent in prison or the justice system.

The grant will expand the Michigan Citizen Reentry Initiative, which provides employment and training services to those returning from the justice system. The goal is to reduce the recurrence of criminal activity, otherwise known as recidivism, and to increase successful participation in employment and training.

“Returning citizens face challenges getting the skills they need for high-skilled, good-paying jobs,” said Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “[The initiative] ensures that individuals who have paid their debt to society can help keep Michigan open for business and on the move.”

The initiative will use an employer-led approach to provide training to returning citizens for in-depend skills and to pair them with employers who are willing to work with at-risk people through direct employment or Registered Apprenticeship programs.

LEO’s Office of Employment and Training got a $7.6 million grant in November 2022 to start the initiative at the Milan Federal Correctional Institution, as well as four residential reentry centers: the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, and Cherry Street Services in Detroit and Grand Rapids.

MiCRI also provides pre-release education, career guidance, social support and employment assistance to people who are currently incarcerated, according to LEO.