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Desperate for workers, construction industry turns to inmates in Johnson Co.

Posted at 3:10 PM, Feb 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-27 21:44:07-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A $200,000 grant from the state of Kansas is expected to breathe new life into the construction industry and inmates in the Johnson County Department of Corrections Adult Residential Center.

The grant will help pay inmate's salaries and training expenses for contractors teaching inmates how to be a skilled laborer. The new program will help the construction industry desperate for new workers and help inmates about to be released who are desperate to find a job.

The program begins March 5. 

15 inmate-trainees will learn a variety of skilled trades like framing, electrical, heating and air conditioning and plumbing. The Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City, Workforce Partnership of Johnson Leavenworth and Wyandotte Counties, and Associated Builders and Contractors are partners in the new program.

David Elliott, President of Construction and Planning Services, called the new program beneficial for both the inmate and contractors.

"We (contractors) desperately need workers," explained Elliott.

"They (former inmates) can't get a normal job. They can't go into maintenance where they have to pass a background check. So this is a good trade for them to come in," Elliott added.