New KRA Partnership Supports Ex-offenders In West and Southside Chicago Communities  

Mignonne Barnes, KRA Program Director, reports, “Strong community partnerships ensure that the Westside American Job Center and the Chatham Education and Workforce Center [both operated for the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership] continue to provide WIOA Adult Services for every eligible jobseeker in our communities.”

Recently, she met with Ivory Snow, Chief Administer Officer, St. Leonard’s Ministries (SLM), and other staff, to explore mutual goals related to technical and soft skills training resulting in job-placement opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals.

In addition to the social stigma generally attached to returning citizens, many present multiple challenges related to homelessness, mental illness, racial discrimination, and/or substance abuse—conditions that most prison systems do not address adequately prior to release.

For SLM, Kelly Butler, KRA Trainer/Special Projects Coordinator, facilitated a WIOA and ConstructionWorks Orientation, attended by 16 interested jobseekers. At the conclusion, Ms. Snow remarked, “We are excited to partner with KRA and provide our participants with more opportunities for skills training and employment.”

Ms. Barnes concluded, “We too are excited about this collaboration and SLM’s interest in making referrals to KRA for training and employment, becoming an OJT worksite in the future, and providing direct-hire opportunities as they become available.”


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