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‘PEER’ Program at Hawkeye Community College aims to reduce recidivism

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A program at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo hopes to help prison inmates find work.

The PEER Program offers courses for various skilled trade fields. Inmates meet with program organizers before getting out of jail to discuss their interests and find related courses that suit their interests.

More than 80 people have taken part in the program since it began in May.

Organizers say it’s a good way to give people a second chance, but also help address the skilled worker shortage.

“It can give a sense of pride,” program coordinator Gabrielle Fleischhacker said. “Accomplishment to individuals who want to complete a training program, work on their resume, gain more enjoyable employment, sustainable employment.”

Organizers say former inmates who take part in a job training program are 48% less likely to recidivate.

The PEER program is paid for by Hawkeye Community College.

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