The new I-MATTER program, launched by Safer Foundation, is providing jobs and educational opportunities for young adults whose previous mistakes have landed them in the criminal legal system or for those who left high school prior to graduation. The Safer Young Adult Reentry Partnership, known as I-MATTER, focuses on job training and placement in high-demand, […]
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The new I-MATTER program, launched by Safer Foundation, is providing jobs and educational opportunities for young adults whose previous mistakes have landed them in the criminal legal system or for those who left high school prior to graduation. The Safer Young Adult Reentry Partnership, known as I-MATTER, focuses on job training and placement in high-demand, high-paying, long-term employment paths for clients in the Quad Cities. Launched in January, the program serves those who have been justice-impacted. That includes individuals who have been incarcerated or detained in prison, a juvenile detention center, immigration detention center, local jail or other facility. It also can include those who have been convicted but not incarcerated, charged but not convicted, and those just arrested. Safer secured a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in July of 2021 to help establish I-MATTER. The three-year Young Adult Reentry Partnership grant is enabling Safer Foundation Quad Cities, which has offices in Davenport and Moline, as well as two Chicago-based Safer sites, to assist young adults transitioning back into society. “The connection to education, training and employment opportunities that Safer’s I-MATTER programming provides is pivotal to both the individual and the larger community,” Safer’s Quad Cities Director Erica Lee said. To qualify for the DOL grant, Safer had to establish partnerships with the criminal legal system, at least one employer, and a capacity-building partner. Safer teamed up with Black Hawk College (BHC) and Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) to serve both sides of the Quad Cities. The two colleges will implement new programming to offer accelerated learning for Safer’s target population. Both colleges offer a wide range of different options including associate degrees, career programs, certifications to many other services that can help I-MATTER participants. Safer works with colleges, workforce partners, and more to help participants in applying for any financial assistance available for occupational training as well as seeking out possible scholarships. “Our goal is to help secure 100% of the funding as none of the candidates would be in a position to pay for this program on their own,” said Sue Davison, the new program manager of Safer’s I-MATTER. To be eligible, participants must be ages 18 to 24 and reside in qualified census tracts in Scott and Rock Island counties. Applicants must call ahead to (309) 524-6002 to be sure they geographically qualify for the program.