Corrections – Workforce Partnership & Prison to Employment Initiative

The Corrections Workforce Partnership Agreement is intended to strengthen linkages between the state workforce and corrections systems in order to improve the process by which the formerly incarcerated and justice-involved* individuals reenter society and the labor force. The Prison to Employment Initiative was a grant program that included in the Governor’s 2018 Budget proposal and includes $37 million over three budget years to operationalize integration of workforce and reentry services in the state’s 14 labor regions. The goal is to improve labor market outcomes by creating a systemic and ongoing partnership between rehabilitative programs within California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the state workforce system by bringing CDCR under the policy umbrella of the State Workforce Plan.

* “Justice-involved” refers to individuals who are on parole, probation, mandatory supervision, or post-release community supervision and are supervised by, or are under the jurisdiction of, a county or the CDCR.


California releases approximately 36,000 people from the state prison each year, a portion of whom have received in-prison job-training rehabilitative services such as Career Technical Education (CTE) or have participated in programs operated by the California Prison Industry Authority (CalPIA). Concurrently, California manages federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds through its State Workforce Plan developed by the California Workforce Development Board (State Board), and implemented by Local Workforce Development Boards (Local Boards) across the state.

While there is some, often informal, coordination between these two systems there is no formal, sustained, and systemic, relationship between them. Some reentry and workforce programs have been created to target certain subpopulations of the state’s supervised population, as discussed below, and while these programs have provided good data and lessons learned, an ongoing marriage of the two systems is needed to better integrate services operating in isolation, and to fill gaps and provide holistic and long-term outcomes to reduce recidivism.

As part of Governor Brown’s efforts to improve California’s criminal and juvenile justice systems and reduce recidivism through increased rehabilitation, the State Board, CDCR, CalPIA, and California Workforce Association (CWA) have finalized a partnership agreement which is included in amendments to the California WIOA Unified Strategic Workforce Development Plan 2016-2020.

The partnership agreement will better link education, job training, and work experience in prison to post-release jobs by fostering a system of coordinated service delivery to a population that faces a variety of barriers. It serves as a blueprint for building local and regional partnerships to improve labor market outcomes and reduce recidivism. Policy strategies outlined in this agreement include:

  1. Sector Strategies
  2. Career Pathways
  3. Organizing Regionally
  4. Earn and Learn
  5. Supportive Services
  6. Integrated Service Delivery and Braided Resources
  7. Building Cross-System Data Capacity

The partnership agreement will inform policies specific to California’s 14 Labor Regions, 45 Local Workforce Development Boards, and 200 contracted America’s Job Centers of California (AJCCs), and how they serve the state’s formerly incarcerated and justice-involved population.               

The partnership agreement and Prison to Employment Initiative build off of existing grants and initiatives administered by the State Board that targets the formerly incarcerated and justice-involved population. These programs include Workforce Accelerator Fund, ForwardFocus: AB 2060 Supervised Population Workforce Training, and Proposition 39 Pre-Apprenticeship. This new approach takes the best of the existing initiatives; and integrates these into systemic and ongoing change through the development of regional plans to coordinate service delivery based on local labor conditions, resources, and partners.

Regional and Local Planning Guidance
Prison to Employment Initiative Grant Program

The Prison to Employment Initiative provides resources for direct services, supportive services and earn learn opportunities to the formerly incarcerated and justice-involved individuals. Funding is allocated to the 14 Regional Planning Units across California and services are delivered through America’s Job Centers of California, Community Based Organizations and partner agencies. The intent is to provide training, education and career opportunities to individuals who are/ or have been justice involved.  Supportive services are provided to ensure individuals receive the necessary resources and supports for success in attaining permanent employment.


Award Announcement – Planning Grants
The California Workforce Development Board (State Board) is pleased to announce the Prison to Employment Initiative Planning Grant Awards.

Award Announcement – Implementation Grants
The California Workforce Development Board (State Board) is pleased to announce the Prison to Employment Initiative Implementation & Direct Services and Supportive Services & Earn and Learn Grant Awards.  Additional awards will be made as applications are approved.


Prison to Employment: Program Evaluation

CWDB has awarded the Robert Presley Center of Crime and Justice Studies at UC Riverside a $500,000 grant to evaluate the efficacy of the Prison to Employment Initiative. Through a combination of rigorous quantitative and qualitative analysis, the research team will investigate the Initiative’s effects on participants’ employment, wages, and recidivism. The team will also explore the extent to which the Initiative has strengthened partnerships between the various state and local agencies of the workforce and corrections systems in order to provide seamless service to the people of California.

Prison to Employment Interim Report
2022 Prison to Employment Summit
Corrections-Workforce Library

Data Sources for Corrections-Workforce Plans

As part of the Corrections-Workforce Partnership and Prison to Employment Initiative, Regional Planning Units are being asked to include information about the size and demographics of the formerly incarcerated and justice involved populations in their region. The data sources below provide a useful baseline for better understanding the make-up of these populations at the state, region, and county levels.

Data Source Publishing Agency Description
BSCC Performance Metrics for Community Corrections California Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) Interactive dashboard displaying county and region-level data on crime, arrest, and incarceration rates
California County Probation Dashboard Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) Interactive dashboard displaying up-to-date county-level Probation population data
CDCR Outcome Evaluation Report California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Annual report presenting various data on individuals released from California State Prisons (e.g. recidivism rate by county of release)
CDCR Data Points Report California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Report presenting various state prison data including admissions and releases by county
DOJ Interactive Arrests Map* California Department of Justice (DOJ) Interactive map displaying county-level arrest data that can be disaggregated by age, race/ethnicity, gender, and arresting agency

*Arrests are a distinct metric from justice-involved population counts and the two datasets do not necessarily correlate to one another; however this data can be used to approximate demographic breakdowns if RPUs are unable to obtain more detailed demographic data from their corrections partners.


Corrections-Workforce Research Library

The CWDB has compiled the below publications and studies for workforce professionals seeking additional resources on how to serve the formerly incarcerated. These publications are authored and published by external organizations and are provided for reference purposes only.




Institution/ Organization

Publication Date

Integrated Reentry & Employment Strategies *

Review of Pilot Programs using Integrated Reentry and Employment Services

Findings from pilot sites in FL and WI 

Council of State Governments

October 2019

Recidivism of Felony Offenders in California *

Recidivism in California

Report presenting findings on recidivism rates for all types of felony offenders in California—including those sentenced to prison, jail only, jail followed by probation, or probation only

Public Policy Institute of California

June 2019

Repairing the Road to Redemption in California

Impact of a criminal conviction

Report studying the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction and opportunities to advance solutions that will eliminate barriers to success for California’s justice involved population

Californians for Safety and Justice

September 2018

Nowhere to Go: Homelessness among formerly incarcerated people


Report studying homelessness trends among the formerly incarcerated

Prison Policy Institute

August 2018

Out of Prison & Out of Work: Unemployment among formerly incarcerated people

Unemployment among formerly incarcerated people

Report studying unemployment trends among the formerly incarcerated

Prison Policy Institute

July 2018

California Nonprofits and the Public Workforce System: How CBOs Can Make Their Voices Heard in the WIOA Planning Process

CBO Engagement

California-specific guide for CBO engagement in the WIOA planning process

International Rescue Committee

July 2018

Work and opportunity before and after incarceration *

Labor market and incarceration trends

Analysis of national incarceration and labor market data

Brookings Institute



Incentivizing Employers to Hire Ex-Offenders

Employer Incentives

In an experiment conducted for this research brief, 59 out of 100 employers filling an entry-level job would consider hiring someone who has one nonviolent felony conviction with the incentive of a baseline tax credit.

Rand Corporation

February 2018

Bridge to Opportunities: How One Probation Agency Developed a Program Designed to Connect Probationers to High-Wage Jobs *


Best Practices / Case Study

Report studying the design and implementation of Sacramento’s  Career Training

Partnership program, which connected probationers to quality jobs in the construction sector.

Rand Corporation


Incarceration to Reentry Education & Training Pathways in California

Education and Training Pathways

Issue brief examining how California is aligning education and training opportunities for people who are currently or formerly incarcerated


June 2017

The Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies Pilot Project

Pilot Program Studying Integrated Reentry and Employment Service Strategies

The IRES pilot project was designed to test innovative approaches
to reducing recidivism and increasing job readiness for people
returning from incarceration and to identify successful strategies
for integrating reentry and employment programming

Council of State Governments

April 2017

Bridging Workforce Development and Corrections Cultures

Job Centers in Correctional Facilities

Issue brief exploring lessons from the planning phase of the Linking to Employment Activities Pre-release (LEAP) grants

Mathematica Policy Research and Social Policy Research Associates

November 2016

Reentry and Employment for the Formerly Incarcerated and the Role of American Trades Unions

Trade Unions

Policy brief exploring the effect of under- and un-employment on the formerly incarcerated and how the expertise and structure of American trades unions could provide critical training programs inside and outside of prisons and jails

National Employment Law Project

April 2016

Road Map to Reentry: A California Legal Guide

California Reentry Resource Guide

A comprehensive guide for formerly incarcerated individuals reentering society, designed to help those individuals navigate the myriad challenges of acclimating to life after incarceration

Root & Rebound

March 2016

Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies: Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Job Readiness

Promising Practices and Implementation Guide

White paper written to address the challenges faced by service providers who serve adults on probation or leaving prison/jail who are seeking a job

Council of State Governments

September 2013

Reentry and the Ties that Bind: An Examination of Social Ties, Employment, and Recidivism

Family ties, employment and recidivism

Study testing hypotheses about the link between familial ties, post-release employment, and recidivism. The findings suggest that family ties have implications for both recidivism and job attainment. The results suggest that good quality social ties may be particularly important for men with histories of frequent unemployment

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences

April 2011

Employment and Female Offenders: An Update of the Empirical Research

Gender Responsive Strategies for Justice-Involved Women

Summary of available literature related to employment and women in the criminal justice system

National Institute of Corrections

November 2010


The CWDB issued draft Regional and Local Planning Guidance spelling out new planning requirements in the spring of 2018, and final guidance was issued through WSD18-01 on July 27, 2018.”

To view a printable version of this web page in PDF, click here.

Workforce – Corrections  Interactive Map

Additional Resources:


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Some outdated or obsolete documents have been removed from this website for business reasons. To view a list of these documents, view the Removed Documents webpage