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Grant could help fund training for those convicted of felonies

Apr. 08, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- Lawrence County could be in line for a $6 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to get individuals with felony records training to enter the local work force.

The Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization is the sole Ohio applicant for the competitive federal grant, said D.R. Gossett, the group's executive director. The organization, which has a $22 million annual budget and about 400 employees, serves about 20,000 county residents from more than 30 sites.

"We were solicited from the state to apply for it," Gossett said to the Lawrence County Board of Commissioners. "If we get it, it will be tremendous."

"The goal is to make these people work-ready," Gossett said. "We're talking about job-specific training. The idea is to get people back on their feet."

The program is called "Pay for Success," said Ralph Kline, assistant executive director of the organization. The grant is part of a national demonstration program, he said.

"We have employers who say they need employees," Kline said. The applicants need to pass a drug test, show up for work on time and get the work done, he said.

"The employers would train them and employ them," he said. "We hope to hear whether it's funded before long. It's very competitive."

The community action organization also has applied for a $270,000 Ohio Housing Financing Agency for transitional housing to assist with people's re-entry into society from incarceration.