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Goodwill pilot program helping Kentucky inmates reenter society

By Alexis Mathews - WLKY

October 11, 2023

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Goodwill Industries of Kentucky has launched a new multimillion-dollar pilot program to help Kentucky inmates transition from incarceration to self-sufficiency.

The initiative called Aspire, is furthering Goodwill's mission to provide pathways out of poverty.

The new program, funded by a $4 million federal grant, is assisting 400 inmates who will soon be released from seven Kentucky prisons by providing pre- and post-release training and supportive services.

Those correctional facilities include Roederer Correctional Complex, Luther Luckett Correctional Complex, Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women, Blackburn Correctional Complex, Western Kentucky Correctional Complex, Little Sandy Correctional Complex and Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex.

Goodwill president Amy Luttrell says the plan is to remove barriers to help them secure a job and become positive contributors to the community.

“Do things like pay rent, own houses and rebuild all those bridges that have been burned over time,” Luttrell said. “We are just inspired by them over and over again because we see how hard they work.”

The two-year program aims to show them the power of work.

Once released, the participants will enroll at one of three Louisville Goodwill Opportunity Centers.

Devon Holt, chief of external affairs at Goodwill, says the formally incarcerated individuals will develop workforce skills through workshops, study to earn credentials, be offered mental health services, and gain the necessary tools to have a successful fresh start.

“That closes a gap on recidivism in this community that allows us as a community to sleep better at night knowing that we are putting men and women to work in positions and careers,” Holt said.

Leaders of Aspire will also track participants' progress one year into the program.

There are several community partners apart of the process, ranging from Kentuckiana Works to Jefferson Community and Technical College.

City leaders say it's a true collaborative effort to rebuild lives, transitioning the hopeless to the hopeful.

“Let's not stop, we're just getting started,” said Deputy Mayor David James. “I want Louisville, Kentucky, to be recognized as the place where this started.”

The program is also providing services at two re-entry centers. The Dismas Charities in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood and the St. Patrick’s location.