SLCC Chosen Among Few in Nation to Prepare for Justice Pell
Posted February 17, 2022
Grant will aid college in preparing to disburse Pell grants to incarcerated students
LAFAYETTE – South Louisiana Community College has received a national grant to prepare the institution to disburse Pell grants for incarcerated students beginning Fall 2023. The grant, called Ready for Pell Initiative, awards SLCC $120,000 over a two-year period from national nonprofit Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the Ascendium Education Group. SLCC is one of 20 colleges and two state systems in 16 states to receive this grant.
After a 26-year ban, the U.S. Department of Education will reinstate full Pell grant eligibility for the incarcerated population beginning in the Fall 2023 semester. Research shows that accessibility to postsecondary education in prison (PEP) programs reduces recidivism and increases the likelihood that people will be able to attain employment after prison. The grant will help to strengthen PEP programs and expand the capacity of institutions to eventually administer Pell grants at the scale that will come with full reinstatement in 2023.
SLCC is partnering with Raymond Laborde Correctional Center (RLCC), located in Cottonport, LA, in preparation of full reinstatement of Pell grants to the incarcerated. Beginning Fall 2022, SLCC will assume oversight of education and training services at RLCC, which is currently being offered by a sister college, Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC). As a state facility, RLCC incarcerates more than 1,500 inmates from across Louisiana. SLCC will start with offering Automotive Technology, Culinary Arts, and Welding Technology, with plans to add additional programs in the future. The College has the potential to serve up to 420 student inmates per year at RLCC.
“We look forward to working with SLCC through the Ready for Pell Initiative,” said Marcus Myers, warden of the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center. “RLCC believes that increased training opportunities prepare individuals to adapt to an ever-changing world.”
Since 2017, SLCC has also partnered with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office (LPSO) to train eligible inmates in Welding Technology at LPSO’s Public Safety Complex located in Scott, LA. The program has a 98% completion rate with a 97% job placement rate upon release and re-entry into the community.
“The outcomes from this initiative have the potential to scale and transform postsecondary education for learners who are incarcerated, benefiting those individuals, their future employers, and the public at large,” says Lucretia Murphy, associate vice president at JFF. “JFF is so excited to work with these grantees as part of a movement for quality and equity in postsecondary education programs.”
“By expanding Corrections Education efforts, SLCC is ushering in a new era of preparing student inmates to be successful upon re-entry into society,” said Vincent June, SLCC’s chancellor. “Doing this not only greatly decreases recidivism rates in our communities but offers a second chance for a well-deserving population.”
South Louisiana Community College is a comprehensive community college that operates campuses in Abbeville, Crowley, Franklin, Lafayette, Morgan City, New Iberia, Opelousas, St. Martinville, and Ville Platte. The college serves more than 17,000 students annually and offers an array of academic programs. Students earn associate degrees, technical diplomas, certificates, and industry-based certifications. It is ranked 14th among the Top 100 Associate Degree Producers as determined by Community College Week.
JFF is a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems. For nearly 40 years, JFF has led the way in designing innovative and scalable solutions that create access to economic advancement for all. www.jff.org
Ascendium Education Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping people reach the education and career goals that matter to them. Ascendium invests in initiatives designed to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds who complete postsecondary degrees, certificates, and workforce training programs, with an emphasis on first-generation students, incarcerated adults, rural community members, students of color, and veterans. Ascendium's work identifies, validates and expands best practices to promote large-scale change at the institutional, system and state levels, with the intention of elevating opportunity for all. For more information, visit https://www.ascendiumphilanthropy.org.