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Goodwill Kentucky shares details of $4 million prison-to-work program

Roederer Correctional Complex sign
J. Tyler Franklin
The Roederer Correctional Complex is one of seven state prisons taking part in Goodwill Kentucky's new program.

Goodwill Industries of Kentucky received a $4 million federal grant to help people who are incarcerated find and maintain jobs. To do that, the nonprofit is partnering with half of the state’s 14 adult prisons.

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the grant to Goodwill through its Pathway Home 4 program earlier this year.

Over the next two years, the nonprofit will offer services to 400 people in the state’s prison system who are nearing their release date at seven facilities:

  • Roederer Correctional Complex near La Grange
  • Luther Luckett Correctional Complex near La Grange
  • Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women near Pewee Valley
  • Blackburn Correctional Complex near Lexington
  • Western Kentucky Correctional Complex near Fredonia
  • Little Sandy Correctional Complex near Sandy Hook
  • Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex near West Liberty

Jessie Ferguson, who served as Roederer’s warden from 2019 to August, will lead the program.
Participants will start by receiving job training while incarcerated. After their release, they’ll take part in a work-and-learn program for at least three months in Louisville.

Goodwill is also partnering with local groups like Jefferson Community and Technical College and theLegal Aid Society to provide services such as credentialing, expungement and health counseling.

Amy Luttrell, the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries, said many people who use Goodwill for assistance have a criminal record, and that more opportunities need to be available for them.

“We need all of our citizens to be able to hold responsible jobs, keep their kids out of foster care… and be contributors to their communities,” Luttrell said.

Goodwill will also perform follow-ups with participants, who can enroll at prisons starting in January.

After 2025, those services will end as Goodwill analyzes how effective the program was.

Goodwill’s initiative comes about a year after Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced a state-run “prison-to-work pipeline” to help boost workforce participation. He recently praised programs helping formerly incarcerated people get jobs and addiction treatment for reducing recidivism in Kentucky.

Jacob is LPM's Business and Development Reporter. Email Jacob at jmunoz@lpm.org.

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