Monday, April 1, 2024

N.C. Commerce Awards Grants to Local Workforce Boards for New Reentry Councils Three counties to start groups supporting transition to employment

Raleigh, N.C.
Apr 1, 2024

The North Carolina Department of Commerce has awarded grants totaling $750,000 to three local Workforce Development Boards to support the creation of Local Reentry Councils (LRCs). These new groups will collaborate with workforce development partners, the N.C. Department of Adult Correction and others in their communities to support justice-involved people in making a successful transition to employment, which in turn promotes public safety.

“Local Reentry Councils help people exiting incarceration get back on their feet and keep our communities safer,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “As employers move to North Carolina in record numbers, they are looking for new and skilled workers while many formerly incarcerated people are eager to change their lives, get a job and join their communities. The whole-of-government approach exemplified by this collaboration between the Department of Commerce and the Department of Adult Correction will strengthen our economy, make communities safer and give people the second chance they deserve.”

Recipients of these one-time grants, each in the amount of $250,000, include:

  • Eastern Carolina Workforce Development Board, which will support a new LRC in Wayne County;
  • Kerr-Tar Workforce Development Board, which will support a new LRC in Warren County; and
  • Piedmont Triad Regional Workforce Development Board, which will support a new LRC in Alamance County.

Commerce officials selected these areas after receiving recommendations from the Department of Adult Correction.

A local reentry council is an organized network of individuals and agencies that provide supervision and coordination of innovative responses to the reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals at the local level. Such a council helps bring together stakeholders who can offer assistance and resources to help justice-involved people become productive citizens. North Carolina currently has 17 local reentry councils, each covering one or more counties.

These new local councils will support Governor Roy Cooper’s recent Executive Order No. 303, which directs whole-of-government coordination to improve reentry for formerly incarcerated people. As part of the Executive Order, North Carolina is joining Reentry2030, a national initiative that aims to dramatically improve reentry success for people exiting prison and those under supervision. Like other Cabinet agencies, the N.C. Department of Commerce is part of the Joint Reentry Council, established by Governor Cooper’s executive order.

“As we celebrate Second Chance Month in April, we are proud to join with other agencies and our NCWorks partners in bringing new reentry resources to additional counties,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “This is in the spirit of our state’s First in Talent Plan, which emphasizes investing in the people of North Carolina and helping those with barriers to get back into the workforce, so that they can build strong careers and meet the needs of employers.”

“One of our Reentry 2030 goals is to establish local reentry councils that serve all of North Carolina’s 100 counties, to support people leaving prison with the resources they need to be successful,” said Secretary Todd Ishee of the Department of Adult Correction. “This funding is a significant step forward in reaching that goal.”

The source of funding for these grants is the State Fiscal Recovery Fund (SFRF), a component of the federal American Rescue Plan Act which provided $5.4 billion to North Carolina to help turn the tide on the pandemic, address its economic fallout, and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery.

This new grant partnership complements the N.C. Commerce Department’s existing Reentry Initiative, which provides assistance to justice-involved jobseekers through NCWorks Career Centers. In addition, Commerce’s Division of Workforce Solutions (DWS) is collaborating with three local workforce boards to implement the federal Partners for Reentry Opportunities in Workforce Development (PROWD) grant, helping people who are transitioning out of the federal prison in Butner to gain job skills and employment after their release. DWS also manages the Federal Bonding and Work Opportunity Tax Credit programs, which serve as incentives to hire eligible people with criminal records or other barriers.

For more information, jobseekers and employers willing to provide a “second chance” should contact their local NCWorks Career Center. Contact information is available at

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