HIRE Celebrates Five-Year Anniversary at State House

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HIRE Celebrates Five-Year Anniversary at State House


INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 2, 2017) — The Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry, a program of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development in partnership with the Indiana Department of Corrections, celebrated a successful first five years on Wednesday.  More than 100 attended the anniversary celebration in the South Atrium of the State House.

HIRE was created in 2012 as an initiative to help ex-offenders enter the workforce.  With more than 15,000 ex-offenders released from prison each year in Indiana, the program fills a vital gap to not only re-engage these individuals in their communities, but also prepare a significant number of workers to aid in addressing Indiana’s critical workforce needs of filling more than 1 million jobs over the next 10 years.

“HIRE began on a relatively small scale, but has grown by leaps and bounds over just five short years,” said DWD Chief Communications Officer Bob Birge. “Through the actions of coordinators, trainers and other staff and volunteers in all 12 regions, as many as 2,500 ex-offenders will be successfully placed in employment in 2017 with over 1,200 employers.”

Indiana’s current recidivism rate is approximately 38 percent, however the vast majority are unemployed at the time of re-arrest. HIRE coordinators in each region work diligently with local employers to provide candidate development and consultation.  HIRE program participants first go through a rigorous screening process and then are provided with access to skill develop opportunities and well as job search tools such as résumé development and interviewing and job application guidance.

“My company provides transitional jobs for people who have just gotten released from incarceration,” said Calvin Houston, Vice President Program & Services for Recycle Force in Indianapolis and one of the event’s speakers.  “So it was a perfect partnership with DWD’s HIRE program due to the fact that they provide the soft skills to our transitional employees.  It’s a great benefit.”

Birge, DWD Chief of Staff Bill Nonte and other DWD officials spoke at the event along with DOC Commissioner Robert Carter.  Also featured were three clients and three employers who gave testimonials of their experiences.  The HIRE program has a retention rate of 98 percent for those placed in jobs, and an average wage of more than $10 per hour.  All total, nearly 8,000 ex-offenders have successfully gone through the program since inception.

“The HIRE program not only prepares these individuals and helps match them with employers, but it truly changes lives – not only for the individual themselves, but for family and friends as well,” said Carrie Heck, DWD Re-Employment Pathway Director who oversees the HIRE program.  “There are so many touching stories of those who have gone through the program and are now living productive lives.”

HIRE photo

Above, the DWD HIRE team poses for a photo after the event.




About the Indiana Department of Workforce Development

DWD serves the worker and the employer to ensure workplace success. DWD is committed to innovating and invigorating Indiana’s economic future by providing WorkOne Career Centers, Unemployment Insurance, Labor Market Information, Regional Workforce Strategies and Professional Training. Through these services, DWD is able to develop a premier workforce that enables Indiana employers to flourish and entices businesses from outside our state to relocate to Indiana.

For additional information, contact:

Dave Shatkowski, 317-234-7671, DShatkowski@dwd.in.gov

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