A program to help offenders turn their lives around and stay out of prison is being expanded after a multi-million-dollar investment by the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Corrections Ben Carroll today visited the Holmesglen, Skills and Job Centre’s Job Ready Program, in Dandenong, to announce a $4 million investment in the Employment Pathway Brokers program, which connects prisoners on parole and offenders on community-based orders with employment and educational opportunities.
The program works throughout Victoria and develops partnerships with local employers, training providers and support agencies to assist parolees and offenders to develop skills to improve their employment prospects.
The program currently supports around 120 partnerships with community-based providers, across the construction, agriculture, accommodation and food services sectors.
It’s been operating since 2017 and has helped connect offenders with more than 160 jobs, made 1100 links to support, employment or pre-employment services, and seen 200 parolees and offenders start further studies or complete a training course.
The additional funding will be used to fund two new employment pathway brokers and continue support for four existing brokers working across the Barwon South West, Loddon Mallee, South East and North West Metropolitan regions.
The funding boost is part of the Labor Government’s $22.7 million investment for additional diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration programs from the 2019/20 Victorian Budget.
The Victorian Budget 2019/20 also included $20 million in new investment in programs focused on reducing the incarceration of women, which will see Women’s Employment Specialists introduced in women’s prisons to strengthen employment opportunities for women leaving custody.
This new initiative is modelled on the Employment Pathways Brokers Program.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Corrections Ben Carroll
“The Andrews Labor Government is expanding the Employment Pathway Brokers program as part of our ongoing investment in diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration programs.”
“As a former Employment Minister, I know that a job is more than just a pay check – it is a source of self-respect, identity and pride.”
“Access to education, training and employment opportunities is essential for parolees and people serving community-based orders to help turn their lives around.”
Quote attributable to Member for Dandenong Gabrielle Williams
“We know some people in our community find it difficult to get into paid work, for a range of reasons. This program is focused on helping some of the most disadvantaged job seekers find employment and get on the right track.”