Returning Citizens

Our work centers on helping returning citizens and those with criminal records connect with training and and job opportunities. We work with partners to reduce systemic barriers, support in prison training, align community resources and develop job opportunities.

One example of our innovative approach, the Detroit Prison Program, brings vocational training and soft skills development usually found in community-based organizations into two prisons. Trainings began in the Fall of 2016 and include culinary arts, hi-lo lift operations and lead & asbestos removal.

Another example is Project Clean Slate, an initiative that helps individuals begin the process of having certain convictions expunged from their record.

The Need:

  • 2700 individuals return to Detroit annually from the Michigan Department of Corrections
  • 66% of individuals on parole are unemployed

Preparing Returning Citizens to Join the Workforce

Many returning citizens face high unemployment with almost 75% out of work within three years of release. A $4 million grant from the Department of Labor allowed us to open Career Centers in two Michigan prisons, providing occupational and soft skills training, and resume writing while individuals were still incarcerated. Detroiters received supportive services and most importantly, employment after release.

Key Stats


  • Statewide recidivism is 29%. Our program recidivism was 12%.


  • Parolee employment is 25% according to the department of corrections.  Our program employed 45% of enrollees.

My experience here has been very good. I’ve got two raises here in a year, just through stepping up and learning different stations. Honestly, if I didn’t do the training I did I don’t know where I would be.  Everybody has a skill, but a lot of people don’t know what their skills are until you get some training.  Once you can do that, focus on what you want to do, put the hard work in, you can do anything.

–Omari Gill 

Culinary Arts; Maggianos, Troy

A Community Effort for All Detroiters