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February 22, 2022

Congresswoman Bourdeaux Introduces Legislation to Boost Workforce Development and Reduce Recidivism Rates

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07) and Congressman Jay Obernolte (CA-08) introduced the Workforce Opportunity for Returning Citizens (WORC) Act to assist incarcerated or previously incarcerated individuals with obtaining employment or credentials in skilled trades. This bipartisan bill would amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to award workforce grants to eligible entities and work to address America’s labor shortage issue while reducing unemployment and recidivism rates.

“Reducing recidivism rates and helping incarcerated individuals integrate back into society is good for our community and good for our economy,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux. “This bill helps those who have been incarcerated find stable employment through workforce development and skilled trades programs, boosting their likelihood of success post-release. By providing these tools to help people get back on their feet, we can combat high rates of unemployment in recently released individuals and national workplace shortages.”

“In a time when crime is rising across the United States, it is critical that we take steps to reduce recidivism and ensure the success of our justice system. When former-prisoners can’t find work, they are more likely to commit additional crimes, and approximately two-thirds of all re-incarcerated people are unemployed at the time of committing an offence,” said Rep. Obernolte. “By improving workforce development programs for these individuals, we can help make our community safer.”

Entities eligible to receive funding under this bill include: local workforce boards, career and technical educational schools, intermediaries such as nonprofits, institutions of higher education (including a 2-year institution of higher education), and a combination of joint ventures of those previously listed. 

This legislation is endorsed by Reform Georgia, NSPIRE Outreach, and Gwinnett Technical College and is co-sponsored by Congressman Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. (GA-04).

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Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux lives with her family in Suwanee, Georgia, and represents Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in the 117th Congress. Carolyn is a strong advocate for affordable health care, and economic recovery that puts workers and small businesses first, and investing in her district’s world-class public education system and transportation infrastructure. 

Georgia’s fast-changing 7th Congressional District includes portions of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan area, including portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties and cities Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Sugar Hill, Norcross, Cumming, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Snellville, Lilburn, Suwanee, Grayson, and Buford