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Goodwill awarded $1.2M to help young adults with criminal histories find jobs
Vickie Huff welds at the Lavonia-based Atlanta Rod & Manufacturing. Huff and other ex-offenders have received training and job help through Goodwill’s employment programs and other community partners.

Goodwill of North Georgia will receive $1.2 million from the federal Department of Labor for its program helping young adult ex-offenders find employment.

The labor department announced $72.8 million in grant funds for 32 programs that help people who “face a variety of challenges” when returning to the workforce.

“These grants give organizations the opportunity to develop new models with a focus on assisting communities with high poverty and crime rates in planning and implementing comprehensive re-entry programs for justice-involved young adults ages 18-24 and adults age 25 and older,” according to the labor department’s news release.

Goodwill of North Georgia was one of 23 community-based organizations awarded funding and is the only program in Georgia. It serves Hall, DeKalb, Cobb, Clayton, Fulton and Athens-Clarke counties.

Goodwill started a welding program for ex-offenders in January 2016, helping dozens so far this fiscal year find employment.

Spokeswoman Summer Dunham said there is a 12-week training program with Lanier Technical College for welding. Participants would have 100 hours of shop time, as well as 96 hours of softs skills training for the workplace.

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