Make us your home page

Grant aims to give inmates skills to help them gain employment

SPRING HILL — Inmates at the Hernando County Detention Center will get an opportunity to learn some technical business skills aimed at making them employable upon release, thanks to a $500,000 grant awarded jointly to CareerSource Pasco Hernando and the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

The Project Re-Start grant is one of 10 across the country, designated by the federal departments of Justice and Labor. Dave Hamilton of CareerSource and Maj. Michael Page of the Sheriff's Office, who collaborated on the application, say they are in planning stages to identify inmate candidates to take part and to design classes, which will be held at the jail.

"We're looking at serving 100 individuals," Hamilton said.

The inmate population averages more than 600 men and women at any one time, mostly incarcerated for misdemeanor offenses, Page noted.

Selected inmates will take a 20-hour course in work maturity skills training, instructor-led and computer-based. The curriculum will include Microsoft Suite, paramount to job searching; QuickBooks, basic data entry and bookkeeping; and certified production technology, which includes safety, quality-control and measurement techniques.

Said Hamilton, operations manager at CareerSource: "Somebody who comes out with QuickBooks certification is certainly employable."

With certification, he said, "Somebody could enter into a manufacturing atmosphere, and things being thrown at them will not be Greek. They could start at entry level with any one of our manufacturers at the Airport (Industrial Park)."

How-to-find-a-job training will include resume writing and how to, with a blot on their record, approach an employer.

"Also, part of our team will work with employers, educating them about misdemeanors," Hamilton said. "A record makes employability problematic. We're trying to remove this barrier of employment. We're not excusing what (inmates) have done, but we'll try to come up with a program so they are as employable as possible."

Page said job skills and employability are only part of the regimen necessary to reduce the probability of rearrest. Many inmates need a safety net of ancillary services as well.

He mentioned mental health services, addiction counseling and job continuum counseling.

"We can use the grant to establish some of those follow-up services," Page said.

Parameters written into the grant application include funding a Sheriff's Office staff position to provide re-entry services.

Although the grant is not the largest awarded to CareerSource in recent years, Hamilton said, "This is one of the most exciting ones we've had, partnering with a very interested party to reduce recidivism and get these people employed."

Classes could begin as early as a month from now, Hamilton said. The grant provides for two years of services.

Contact Beth Gray at

Grant aims to give inmates skills to help them gain employment 10/03/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 1:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. New town homes sprouting in Oldsmar

    Real Estate


    Times Staff Writer

    OLDSMAR — City officials have been chipping away for several years on a downtown development plan, bringing new life to a 7-acre site on State Street. One day in the not-far-off future, they want to lively streets and walkways used by residents and …

  2. Study: Tampa Bay a top market for homebuyers on the move

    Real Estate

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, a survey found.
[Associated Press file photo]
  3. Ousted to political Siberia by Corcoran, Kathleen Peters sets sights on Pinellas Commission

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The perks of power in Tallahassee are a coveted chairmanship, a Capitol office in a prime location and a prominent seat on the House floor. Now Rep. Kathleen Peters has lost all three, but here's the twist: Her trip to "Siberia" might actually help her reach the next step on the Tampa Bay political …

    Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena, has been relegated to the back row in the State House chamber, moved to a fouth floor office and stripped of her job as chairwoman of a House subcommittee after a series of disagreements with House Speaker Richard Corcoran. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA


    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  5. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants the Constitu?tion Revision Commis?sion to ask voters to repeal the state’s system of partial financing of statewide elections.