In 2014, the legislature passed HB14-1355. Among its other reforms, the law created a reentry community grant program within the Colorado Department of Corrections, the Work and Gain Education & Employment Skills (WAGEES) program, to provide funding to community-based organizations that support people returning from incarceration. This community grant program facilitates and supports a strong partnership between the Colorado Department of Corrections and community. Organizations funded by WAGEES were selected through a competitive process and meet the requirements, expectations and performance measures established for the program.
WAGEES Community Partners are a collective group of community and faith-based organizations funded in part by the WAGEES program that provide a wide array of services to community members, including people returning from incarceration. Community Partners have leadership and staff with lived experience. Meaning, many of them have served time in prison and now have an expertise and passion to help other people successfully transition back to community. This life experience informs their service provision, training and skill development for WAGEES participants. Additionally, they leverage partnerships in the community to access goods and services that help meet the various needs of participants (e.g., jobs, housing, and basic goods). This helps to keep costs down, create efficiency and promote successful outcomes.
All WAGEES Community Partners are independent organizations that reflect the communities they serve. Aurora isn’t Sterling, isn’t Grand Junction. Colorado’s diversity and regional difference create unique opportunities and challenges. These Community Partners are best suited to develop local responses to reentry needs within the unique context of the communities they work in and with. This approach helps preserve local autonomy, create innovations that work at the local level and leverages the collective community partnership to identify and replicate effective practices.
The Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) selected the Latino Coalition for Community Leadership (LCCL) to serve as a grantmaking intermediary, providing administrative oversight as well as leadership, resources, and capacity-building skills to help WAGEES Community Partners meet the needs of their communities. The LCCL provides guidance for WAGEES community partners and serves as a hub for information and services. Their key responsibilities include selecting community partners, disbursing funds, developing and administering program and fiscal data collection systems, tracking performance metrics, and coordinating the relationship between CDOC and WAGEES Community Partners.
For more information about the LCCL please visit www.latinocoalition.org.