Digital Inclusion Program
To address the need of state-coordinated resources and services for West Virginia’s re-entry population, WorkForce West Virginia implemented a Digital Inclusion Pilot Program focused on this population. The pilot program provides access to on-line and virtual assistance as well as connective through voice and text message options. Based on statistics provided by the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation 2019 Annual Report, 2,791 individuals were under parole supervision as of June 2019. WorkForce West Virginia also identified statistics from February 2021 reported by West Virginia Council of Churches (WVCC) statewide Re-Entry Councils that revealed the top 5 barriers identified by West Virginia’s re-entry population are as follows:
- Substance use treatment facilities
- Job Training
WorkForce West Virginia has developed a consortium of partners, such as, West Virginia Division of Corrections, Parole Services, Probation Offices, regional Re-entry Councils, etc. to identify 100 individuals to participate in the pilot project. The participants must have been released from incarceration and/or are scheduled to be released from incarceration and in need assistance available through West Virginia’s Digital Inclusion program. The Digital Inclusion pilot project will provide up to 100 individuals a smartphone device to provide digital access with voice, text, and data plans to conduct on-line job search, communication with potential employers/current employer via text, voice, or email for a 12-month period.
Program Eligibility Criteria
- Non-violent, defined as property, drug, and public order offenses, parolee or an Inmate scheduled for release and/or parole.
- Non-violent, defined as property, drug, and public order offenses, probationer.
- Non-violent, defined as property, drug, and public order offenses, on work release.
- Completion of the Digital Inclusion Participant Agreement
- WorkForce West Virginia will conduct a digital inclusion orientation Google’s “Career Readiness for Reentry”
- Creation of Google Email-Work Account
- Requirements of Job Search weekly/monthly
- Contact requirements: virtual/in-person monthly
Cell Phone Assignment
- Participants must complete Digital Inclusion/Career Readiness Orientation.
- Digital Inclusion Program Participation Agreement- outlining the terms and conditions of participation.
- Upon completion of orientation and receipt of Digital Inclusion Participant Agreement, the participant will receive an activated cell phone with an active voice, text, and data plan. Record serial number, make/model, and cell phone number must be recorded on Digital Inclusion Participant Agreement, verify signature and up to date contact information for participants.
WorkForce West Virginia provides a one-on-one case management approach to program participants that focus on career services that will connect/provide participants with the following:
- Information/referral to mandated partner program services.
- Information resource partner program services.
- Assistance with connecting and enrolling in Adult Education to obtain a High School Equivalency degree.
- Assistance in identifying barriers with referral to mandated or resource partners for assistance in addressing the barrier(s).
- Assistance with Federal Bonding and Workforce Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)
- Referrals to Career Planners for individualized and supportive services.
- Connecting participants in need with substance use in-patient and out-patient treatment facilities and partner resources to support successful completion of the substance use treatment programs.
- Upon successful completion of the 12-month Digital Inclusion Program WorkForce West Virginia will cancel the service plan provided through the Digital Inclusion program and release the device to the participant.
- Participants will have the ability to access a service plan of their choice on the device. To apply for the Digital Inclusion Program, contact Hannah Pullin at Hannah.Pullin@wv.gov or by calling 304-558-5050.