MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A prison near Madison is giving inmates access to a Wisconsin Job Center to help them prepare for life after their release.
Oakhill Correctional Institution inmates can use the center’s computers to build resumes, search for jobs online and apply for them, and set up interviews using email, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.
The center has been operating for a few weeks and at least one inmate has already found work, according to Jennifer Brikowski, an employment and training specialist at the Dane County Job Center.
“He applied for a job. We got a response back from the employer, and he got offered an interview,” Brikowski said. “So through email, I scheduled the interview for him. He was released on a Thursday. The interview was that following Monday. He went to the interview and got offered the job.”
Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has been about 3 percent for the past eight months. State officials say there are more job openings than there are job seekers. Officials hope to help bolster the workforce by opening more job centers at prison.
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Ray Allen said officials’ main goal is to give a reason for hope to people who otherwise might have been faced with bleak prospects.
“Hope for those who had made a mistake,” Allen said. “Hope that gives them the opportunity to become law-abiding, self-sustaining citizens of this great state.”
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said the new center helps the Corrections Department live up to its name.
“So that our folks who come to our Corrections Department are coming not to a punishment department but a corrections department, where there is an opportunity to learn, to grow your skills and to return to the communities from which they came, as 95 percent of them will, with opportunity,” Kleefisch said.