Duke Energy Foundation grant allows HIRE program to better prepare individuals and businesses for successful employment after incarceration

INDIANA – For 10 years, the Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry program (HIRE) has been working to change the lives of those being released from incarceration by preparing them for and connecting them with jobs.

Now, a $250,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation will help further that work through educational opportunities for formerly incarcerated citizens and businesses, alleviating barriers to successful employment and developing new partnerships.

“We are so appreciative of this support from the Duke Energy Foundation, which will allow us to help more releasing citizens find success through employment, while also supporting Hoosier businesses in need of quality workers,” HIRE Director Carrie Heck said.

The Duke Energy Foundation provides grants to organizations with the goal of helping strengthen and uplift communities throughout Indiana with grant funding highlighting vibrant economies, climate resiliency and justice, equity, and inclusion.

“Workforce issues remain a challenge for employers across the state and building a strong pipeline of talent has never been more critical,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Stan Pinegar. “The Indiana Department of Correction’s HIRE program is a step in the right direction in addressing some of those needs by providing formerly incarcerated Hoosiers with training for in-demand skills to meet the needs of local employers.”

The grant, which runs through August 2023, will help HIRE focus on:

  • Direct client services: educational opportunities to skill up HIRE’s client workforce to meet business needs, including clean energy installation, and partnering with non-profits to assist with barriers formerly incarcerated citizens face, such as housing and transportation
  • Direct business services: assisting with recruitment, retention, and hiring, and providing training on how to best work with individuals to promote success
  • Re-entry-focused alliances: develop partnerships to support successful re-entry and long-term employment

Grote Industries, a Duke Energy customer based in Madison, Ind., has partnered with the Indiana Department of Correction through its HIRE program to provide opportunities for permanent employment to women returning to the workforce. Over the last five years, the company has hired 20 women from the Madison Correctional Facility, of which 11 are still employed at Grote Industries. They have held a variety of roles within the company, including serving as metrologists, production leaders, and buyers. Prior to coming on board, each of the women received training in production and materials handling through the Indiana Department of Correction and Ivy Tech.

“We’ve greatly appreciated the collaboration between the Indiana Department of Correction, Ivy Tech, and our team at Grote,” said Grote President and CEO Dominic Grote. “Through the HIRE program, we’re able to bring trained employees onboard to help us continue our growth, the community gains contributing residents, and these women earn the opportunity to get back on the path to self-sufficiency and a healthy life.”

“HIRE has made a huge difference in the lives of thousands of citizens re-entering local communities after incarceration. This Duke Energy Foundation grant will help us serve even more Hoosiers and change more lives,” Indiana Department of Correction Deputy Commissioner of Re-Entry Chris Blessinger said.


The Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry (HIRE) program was created in 2012 to help people with past involvement with the legal system reintegrate into society and create career paths to give them the opportunities to improve their lives in a sustainable way through work. HIRE focuses on placing clients into employment that will give them a livable wage and career path for success.

HIRE Stats

  • Nearly 17,000 Hoosiers have been connected with jobs through the HIRE program since 2012
  • HIRE partners with more than 9,000 businesses across the state, helping them recruit skilled, quality workers
  • On average, HIRE clients earn $15.80 per hour – up from $8.93 in 2012

Top employment fields: manufacturing, warehouse, construction, food services, maintenance

Duke Energy Foundation

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The Foundation contributes more than $2 million annually in charitable gifts to Indiana and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars. More information about the Foundation and its Powerful Communities program can be found at duke-energy.com/Foundation.