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

Prison to Employment: Local Assistance Planning Grant

The California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) is proud to announce its Prison to Employment (P2E) Program Summit on May 14, 2019 in Anaheim, California. As we approach implementation of the P2E program, the CWDB’s Corrections Workforce Partnership Team will facilitate our first community of practice to:

  • Share plans, strategies, and partnerships,
  • Discuss implementation challenges and lessons learned,
  • Hear feedback from planners and implementers,
  • And provide technical and programmatic information for this new program.

The summit is aimed at all workforce professionals, from board members to front line case managers, corrections and law enforcement partners, and community partners. Please contact for more information and to RSVP for the event.


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

Award Announcement
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.


Forms Packet 

***DRAFT Guidance on Regional Awards – Closed for comment 3/26/19***

Orientation Webinar Q&A (8/28/19)
Orientation PowerPoint (8/28/19)

Important Dates:

RFA Posting   November 15, 2018
Application Workshop   November 29, 2018
  P2E Direct and Support Service Grants Application Workshop PPT  
Q&A Posted weekly through   February 8, 2019
  Submit questions at
Use “Prison to Employment Initiative Application” in the subject line
  November 30, 2018 Q&A
December 7, 2018 Q&A
December 14, 2018 Q&A
December 21, 2018 Q&A
January 4, 2019 Q&A
January 11, 2019 Q&A
January 18, 2019 Q&A
January 25, 2019 Q&A
February 1, 2019 Q&A
February 8, 2019 Q&A
Applications DUE***   Friday, February 15, 2019 by 3PM PST
Awards announced   April 2019


The Governor’s 2018 Budget proposal included $37 million over three budget years to fund the integration of workforce and reentry services in the state’s 14 regions. Known as the “Prison to Employment Initiative,” the proposal is briefly mentioned in the Governor’s Budget Summary on page 74 (page 6 of the linked document).

Proposed Funding Plan

Regional Planning Grants$1.75m
Implementation and Direct Service Grants$6m$8m
Needs-Based Supportive Services$8m$12m
Program Evaluation and Assessment$1m
Total Funds $16m$20m$1m

Funding for the Prison to Employment Initiative was approved by the Legislature in SB 856 (Budget & Fiscal Review, Chapter 30, Statutes of 2018) and is intended to support regional planning efforts, fund regional plan implementation, and provide resources for direct services to the formerly incarcerated and other justice-involved individuals. It also sets aside specific resources for both supportive services and earn and learn activities which were identified as a major gap by current grantees and local service providers.

Statutory program information, including authorized uses for grant funds and evaluation requirements were approved by the Legislature in SB 866 (Budget & Fiscal Review, Chapter 53, Statutes of 2018).

Prison to Employment Newsletters
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 State Board 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.

Title Topic Summary Institution/ Organization Publication Date
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 Housing 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
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
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 Clasp 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 reacclimating 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.

Additional Resources:


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