Ward Byers, Executive Director of Marshall County Community Corrections updated Advisory Board members earlier this month about client participation in work programs.
Marshall County Community Corrections is in year 3 of their Employment Partners Program which puts clients and employers together. Byers said he has arrangements with multiple employers throughout the county to bypass the temporary work program and go straight to HR and get clients placed in the workforce.
Byers said they have worked out arrangements and understandings with several employers knowing what that employer will take what kind of person and what kind of criminal conviction. He said they have been very successful in placing clients in good paying jobs, at good starting wages with benefits and not having to go through employment agencies.
Byers said, “On a daily basis we receive calls from our partners and most recently we were getting calls from employers in Elkhart County asking if we had any employees to send them. We receive those calls, and we don’t have anyone to send them.” Byers said all the Community Corrections clients are working. If they aren’t working, it’s because they are on disability or they can’t work because of an issue. He continued saying its hard to find good workers and keep them on board but these employers like getting our clients.
Some of the partners Community Corrections is working with incudes: Plymouth Foundry, Zentis, Bremen Casting, and Pretzels Inc. Byers said, “We’ve kind of turned into an employment agency, in the sense that we utilize our clients and provide them with a good paying job. The benefit of that for us is their self-satisfaction and they are taking care of their families and paying their court obligations and their obligations to Community Corrections.”
It was asked how many clients stay on the job following their stint on Community Corrections and Byers said a very high percentage of their clients stay on the job even after their sentence is completed.
It was noted that there is some collaboration between Community Corrections and Probation for probationers to secure a job too.