Fifty-five women are enrolled in a first-of-its kind education and job-skills program at the Ohio State Reformatory for Women that's training inmates to make homes more weather-tight and energy-efficient. The Columbus Dispatch says the program aims to reduce recidivism among female inmates by giving them certification in a viable career. It is funded by a nearly $750,000 federal grant awarded to the Franklin County Reentry Task Force.
The task force is working with the prison in part because most women who go through the program will return to Franklin County when they're released. Once home, they'll receive one-on-one mentoring, housing assistance, and a six-week internship with a company where they can use the training they got in prison. Kysten Palmore, the county's re-entry coordinator, said the women also will earn 15 college credits, taking courses on topics such as financial literacy, energy efficiency. and “green” technology. The training leads to certification in weatherization, lead abatement and workplace safety.