NDCS announces call for VLS grant applications

NDCS announces call for VLS grant applications


CONTACT Dayne Urbanovsky, Director of Strategic Communications

OFFICE 402-479-5799 | dayne.urbanovsky@nebraska.gov

CONTACT Dawn-Renee Smith, Chief of Staff

OFFICE 402-479-5721 | dawnrenee.smith@nebraska.gov

February 22, 2023 (Lincoln, Neb.) – A program that provides men and women with employment and educational opportunities, skills training, job seeking, housing and other key resources is now accepting applications for its fifth grant cycle. Since 2015, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS), the Division of Parole Supervision (Parole) and the Administrative Office of the Courts and Probation (Probation) have partnered with community providers to facilitate a variety of reentry services to more than 9,400 individuals through the Vocational and Life Skills (VLS) program.

“This program is integral to the work we do to prepare people for reentry,” said Interim Director Diane Sabatka-Rine. “Providing individuals with the tools and training they need to return to work, family and financial obligations upon release is at the core of the VLS program and the NDCS mission to keep people safe.”

VLS provides community-based opportunities for adults who are incarcerated, discharged from prison within the past eighteen months, or serving a period of supervision on parole or probation. Community colleges, federally or state recognized Indian tribes, and community-based organizations that provide vocational and life skills programming and services to these populations are encouraged to apply for the VLS grant.

This grant cycle, which is one of several that NDCS administers, will begin on July 1, 2023, and run through June 30, 2025. The entire annual allocation of $3.5 million is available each year of this two-year grant period subject to appropriation. Funding for this VLS program originates from LB 907, passed by the Nebraska Legislature in 2014, with the intent of addressing barriers to successful employment and reducing recidivism. Recent grant awards were made for an additional $5 million for housing and similar programs.

This investment allows NDCS, Parole and Probation to work with a diverse group of service providers and community colleges to deliver vocational and life skills training as well as services such as housing, medical and mental health, community support, transportation and more. Services offered through VLS are available at no cost to participants.

NDCS works with the Nebraska Center for Justice Research (NCJR) at the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) to ensure all of the VLS programs address the needs of participants and deliver the desired outcomes.

The application is available here: https://corrections.nebraska.gov/about/rehabilitation/vocational/life-skills-programs. For questions about the application process, contact Tyler Goodrich at 531-207-3009 or tyler.goodrich@nebraska.gov. Applications and all required documentation must be submitted by April 10, 2023, for consideration.