Labor department awards $2.5M for project involving sheriff’s, job board, colleges

Staff Report

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced Santa Barbara County is to receive $2,499,999 in grant funds as one of two California agencies out of 28 Pathway Home grants awarded to 17 states. The project will collaborate with the County’s Workforce Development Board, Sheriff’s Office, Allan Hancock College and Santa Barbara City College.  

“The Santa Barbara County Workforce Development Board is pleased to move forward in partnership with Sheriff Bill Brown and his team, as well as our two community colleges and community-based organizations to provide much need pre-release and post-release services to incarcerated individuals. These services will help to re-build lives and contribute to the community.” said Raymond McDonald, executive director of Santa Barbara County Workforce Development Board.  

The Pathway Home Grant will provide the opportunity to implement a re-entry program serving 250 eligible, justice-involved individuals to secure employment in their communities prior to release from the Santa Barbara County Jail or Santa Barbara Northern Branch Jail.  “We are delighted that Santa Barbara County was selected to receive a $2,499,999 grant award, being one of only 28 recipients nationwide,” Sheriff Brown said. “Without a means to make a living and the financial security of a job, there is little chance of a successful reentry into the community for formerly incarcerated people. 

“This Pathway Home grant will allow us to provide — in partnership with Santa Barbara City and Allan Hancock community colleges — education and vocational training to people in county custody and will also provide incentive funding to employers who give justice-involved persons a second chance at employment when they are released from jail,” Brown continued. “We look forward to many successful outcomes and stronger and safer communities as a result of this grant.”

 Rick Rantz, dean at Allan Hancock College Academic Affairs also welcomed the funding.   

“Funds from the Pathway Home 2 grant will enable us to provide comprehensive pre- and post-release services in the form of educational and job training programs designed to transition justice involved individuals into productive and contributing members of society,” he said. “Allan Hancock College has achieved a lot of success in this area through our existing Rising Scholars program and we look forward to expanding our work at the Santa Barbara County North Branch Jail through this grant.” 

In addition, as these individuals make the transition back into the community, participation will continue with limited barriers to assessing the services by providing elements such as those provided at the America’s Job Center of California (AJCC).  Those elements include education and certified training opportunities, skill attainment, supportive services, job search, job placement, career counseling, individualized employment plans and one year of follow-up services.