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Indiana Ex-Offender HIRE Program Earns National Honor
Updated September 25, 2018 2:02 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana Department of Workforce Development's Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry (HIRE) program has been recognized as a national model for reintegrating ex-offenders into the workforce and keeping them out of prison.

HIRE on Sept. 20 received from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) the prestigious State Excellence Award at the association's 82nd annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

"Indiana's HIRE program embodies the absolute best of the best in the workforce and economic development throughout the United States," said Scott B. Sanders, executive director of NASWA and a former Indiana DWD commissioner (2005-2014). "Innovative programs like HIRE are directly responsible for the remarkable recovery from the Great Recession underway in communities all across this great nation."

HIRE was created in 2012 by DWD, in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Correction and other local and statewide partners, to help ex-offenders transition from incarceration to employment. The success and recognition of the program are due to establishing and cultivating strong employer relationships; preparing offenders and ex-offenders to have the skills necessary to be job ready and supporting the employed individuals one year after placement.

Since HIRE was created, the program has secured more than 10,000 jobs for ex-offenders and works with more than 1,200 employers annually. An overwhelming majority of the individuals (85 percent) did not return to prison three years after placement, which far exceeds the state's current recidivism rate of 36 percent for all incarcerated populations.

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Fred Payne and the NASWA award

"We are proud of the dedication and commitment of our HIRE team, and the considerable impact they have made on our state in supporting this population to re-enter the workforce," said Fred Payne, Indiana DWD commissioner. "This award brings special attention to their efforts and is well-deserved. HIRE is a support for many people and their families, which foster economic vitality and strong communities." Payne is pictured left, holding the NASWA award.

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