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Recent regional employment reports show that our school systems are not graduating the people needed to take the 25,000 area jobs that go unfilled every year.

But there is an institutional population that that comes out every year with many trained in the machining; IT coding, management and maintenance; finance, and plumbing and HVAC skills local companies are clamoring for—but there’s one problem:

They are graduates of the nation’s jails, prisons and penitentiaries, and, as such, can rarely get a foot in the door when applying for these openings. The Allegheny County Anchored Re-entry Coalition is working to change that, and on April 22, at the Community College of Allegheny County, it held a summit on its successes, setbacks and goals for the future.

United States Attorney General for the Western District of Pennsylvania David Hickton, who opened the summit, noted that assisting these returning individuals is not only a solution to an economic need, or simply humanitarian outreach, but also a method to improve public safety.

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