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Alternative Talent Pool – Offender Success

Offender Success is a state-wide program through the Michigan Department of Corrections for offenders returning to their communities from prison. By providing targeted services for each offender and collaborating with organizations and communities, the rate of recidivism is reduced, and employment opportunities are enhanced.

The Michigan Works! Berrien Cass Van Buren Offender Success team carries out the mission and vision of this program throughout the counties of Berrien, Cass, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Calhoun and Branch Counties.

The Offender Success team provides access to those pre-cursor tools that are necessary for employment including vital documents, transportation assistance, resume review and work-specific clothing and tools. Removing these barriers allows for offenders to become job ready and provides employers with an alternative, yet supported, talent pipeline.

In the last year, this Offender Success team had an outstanding employment placement rate, with 84% of offenders referred to employment services being placed with an employer. The Michigan Works! Berrien Cass Van Buren team also has On-The-Job-Training funds available to employers, allowing for wage reimbursement for up to 4 weeks. This funding offsets the cost to the employer while training the offender in a particular skill set.

The Offender Success team has been successful in reducing recidivism through partnerships in Southwest Michigan and throughout the state; we would like to expand the reach with more employer engagement. Employers have the opportunity to consider expanding their talent pool by utilizing the unique employment pipeline of returning citizens and Offender Success.

For more information about the Offender Success Program in Southwest Michigan, click here. You can also contact Derek Knuth at

For general information about the statewide program you can access information here.

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