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Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel (Photo by J.L. Martello)

Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel (Photo by J.L. Martello)

With returning inmates increasingly eyed as part of the solution to the looming employment vacuum being created by retiring baby boomers, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and state Corrections Secretary John Wetzel were pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Education has selected four state universities to participate in a national pilot program to allow inmates to access post-secondary education.

“More than 90 percent of the 48,000 individuals behind bars in Pennsylvania will leave prison one day,” said Wolf in a statement.

“Having a college degree or certificate in hand will give those individuals an even greater chance for successful reintegration and to become productive members of society. I thank the incredible institutions of higher learning who’ve partnered with us in this effort.”

The four schools—Bloomsburg University, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University—were among 67 colleges and universities awarded a total of $30 million in federal grants under the U.S. Department of Education’s Second Chance Pell pilot program.

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