Grant Awarded to Support Formerly Incarcerated Students

Grant Awarded to Support Formerly Incarcerated Students

The Minnesota Office of Higher Education awarded $291,000 in Intervention for College Attendance Program - Formerly Incarcerated Students (ICAP FIS) grants  – a first-time grant opportunity – to four institutions and community-based organizations to provide support services to students who have formerly been incarcerated. 

Through strategies like mentorship, one-on-one navigation support, career exploration and awareness, and holistic reintegration services, the funded programs will allow for increased and personalized reentry services to students who often face many barriers as they pursue a postsecondary pathway after incarceration. Awarded grantees include both metro-based and Greater Minnesota recipients: Faribault Public Schools Adult Education, Minneapolis College, Minnesota North College, and Minnesota State University-Mankato.

Each initiative is uniquely designed to best serve formerly incarcerated students in each region, but all center around reentry support services that allow students to earn a postsecondary degree or credential, expand career opportunities and earning potential, as well as meet workforce needs in their communities. Earning a degree and finding stability in a career dramatically decreases a formerly incarcerated individual’s likelihood to reoffend. The ICAP FIS supports initiatives that foster personal growth, increase job opportunities and successfully integrate into society, helping the state as a whole.

At metro-based Minneapolis College, the ICAP FIS will help build out the reentry services program on campus. Through the TREC (Transformation and Reentry through Education and Community) program and a newly opened TREC Center, students have access to multiple layers of support, as well as opportunities to meet students with similar lived experiences and goals and can receive assistance and mentorship from navigators who understand their barriers to postsecondary success.

“Their lived experiences are unique, and it is so much more effective to receive support from someone who has walked in your shoes,” said Ann Deiman-Thornton Dean of the School of Education, Public and Human Service at Minneapolis College. “These students can have very difficult barriers as they are trying to transition from incarceration back into our communities. In addition to access to all of the resources that any Minneapolis College student has, we can provide them with that added support to help overcome barriers as they earn their credential, whether it be with housing, food insecurity, or finding a career.”

Paving the Path
Through the TREC (Transformation and Reentry through Education and Community) program, Minneapolis College, in partnership with Metro State University and the Minnesota Department of Corrections, currently operates in three correctional facilities located in Stillwater, Lino Lakes, and Faribault where students have the opportunity to work toward two- and four-year degree programs.

As some students are not able to complete their degrees while incarcerated, the ICAP FIS will fund a re-entry program at the Minneapolis College campus to support the continuation of their academic journeys. Part of the re-entry services program includes a mentorship program for justice-impacted students, pairing them with students who have similar lived experiences. In addition, Minneapolis College will develop a unique orientation program, monthly reentry workshops, and guidebook, as well as a referral and tracking system to ensure students are benefiting from resources.

The ICAP FIS grant was a one-time funding source from the 2023 legislative session.

Republished from the Office of Higher Education News Release 5/30/24

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