Justice Reinvestment Grant Awarded to Goodwill’s Re-Entry Program

And Other Re-Entry Programs Across Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (Oct. 25, 2018) – Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana (Goodwill SELA) knows that individuals who have formerly been incarcerated can turn their lives around and be productive employees. To help with this effort, Goodwill SELA is expanding its work training program for people with criminal backgrounds. Through a $447,785 investment – the largest grant in the state – from the New Orleans Re-entry Taskforce, Goodwill will provide direct services including legal services, such as securing a driver’s license or negotiating child support payments.  In the test pilot for Year 1 there will be 747 individuals being released who will be transitioning back into society.

The grant is part of a larger $12.2 million investment from Gov. John Bel Edwards for government agencies and nonprofits in Jefferson, Orleans, and St. Tammany parishes to help people with criminal backgrounds’ transition back to society.

The package of bills, known as the Justice Reinvestment Act, enables thousands of people convicted of non-violent crimes to be released ahead of schedule, often by just a few days or weeks but in some cases by a year or more. With the relatively tight labor market in the New Orleans greater region, there is an opportunity for employers in need of workers to hire people with criminal convictions.

Goodwill SELA heads the New Orleans Re-entry Taskforce as well as has a seat on the steering committee -Louisiana Prison Initiative (LaPRI) organized by the Louisiana Department of Corrections.  The New Orleans Re-entry Taskforce is made up of 65 nonprofits and 112 faith based organizations. Goodwill SELA’s work with people coming out of prisons and jails demonstrates that when job training is aligned with employer demand and highly customized support services, people with criminal records can become valued employees.

“Whether an arrest occurred recently or long ago, individuals with criminal records –and particularly individuals who have recently been incarcerated – face serious and complex obstacles to successful reentry,” said Bill Jessee, president of Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana. “The long-term impact of a criminal record prevents many motivated people from obtaining employment, even if they have turned their lives around. This program addresses that issue.”

To learn more about Goodwill SELA’s re-entry program please visit:



Goodwill is a 501C3 nonprofit organization dedicated to offering opportunities to people with disabilities and other employment disadvantages to improve their economic self-sufficiency through training, education, support services and employment. Last year alone, Goodwill served 2,938 individuals with disabilities and other employment barriers and placed 306 in jobs.          

For any further questions on the subject, please contact:  William Jessee, President of Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana, Inc., at (504) 456-3921 or wjessee@goodwillno.org.

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