Riverside and San Bernardino Counties collectively were recently awarded a $3.3+ million grant to be directed toward the Inland Empire Regional Planning Unit (RPU), a partnership effort between the workforce development boards of the two counties. The funding is part of a $36 million allocation included in former Governor Jerry Brown’s state budget for fiscal year 2018-19 that also provided funding for other social programs. As an RPU, the counties led the development of the Regional Workforce Development Plan. As part of this partnership plan, the newly secured grant dollars will be used to accelerate efforts to train and employ inmates being released from custody. The RPU will dedicate itself to the development of a three-year program aimed at the coordination of both job training and job placement services. According to county officials the initiative will center around a six-month program designed to help stabilize former inmates in the workforce. Under the auspices of the RPU’s Prison to Workforce initiative identified as PE2, inmates will have an opportunity to participate in a job training program for the final three months of their incarceration and their participation in the program will continue for no less than three months subsequent to their release from custody as the now paroled inmates apply for permanent employment. More than 66,000 individuals currently confined in the region’s jails, and the area’s four state prisons, as well as those on probation or parole will be eligible to participate. One of the major reasons so many former inmates return to prison is their inability to secure sustainable and meaningful employment. The goal of this initiative is to provide the support network they need to secure meaningful employment in the region.