Centerstone Receives $4.5 Million Grant for Workforce Reentry Initiative

Illinois |

Centerstone Career Connect to provide crime-deterring education, training, employment services and coordination of behavioral health treatment for 500+ young adults exiting justice systems


Nashville, Tenn. (January 17, 2017) — Centerstone, one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit behavioral health care providers, has been awarded a three-year, $4.5 million grant to implement a U.S. Department of Labor Reentry Demonstration Project for Young Adults. The project goals include preventing and reducing crime in high-risk areas of Middle Tennessee and Southern Illinois by enhancing workforce reentry strategies for 563 people, ages 18 to 24, who have been involved with the juvenile or adult justice systems.

Through Centerstone Career Connect, participants receive employment, education and training options and are provided mental health and substance use treatment and other supportive services as needed. Utilizing a Career Pathways approach, participants will learn new work skills, obtain certifications or degrees and develop opportunities for lifelong careers.

“We’re excited to serve and motivate people to discover skills best suited for their bright future,” said Centerstone Career Connect Project Director Phyllis Viltz. “Establishing and maintaining a positive life trajectory for these individuals in turn begins to lower crime rates and help employers. Everybody wins.”

Centerstone Career Connect will serve 403 people across 17 census tracts in and around downtown Nashville, Tennessee, and 160 additional participants in East St. Louis and Carbondale, Illinois. Specific target goals include improved education and job skills, increased employment, sustained work, successful credentialing, decreased substance use (60 percent), reduction of mental health symptoms (50 percent) and reduced recidivism (25 percent).

Referrals may come from courts, probation or parole officers, attorneys, schools and more. Collaborative partners include local employers, police departments and mayor offices.

“As our city continues to grow, we embrace this opportunity to help our young adult residents thrive,” said Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. “These efforts to assist in developing productive, responsible, healthy citizens are a key step toward less poverty, a stronger workforce and a greater Nashville community.”

Centerstone Career Connect’s active implementation runs from January 2017 through December 2018. For more information, including specific coverage areas, call (615) 714-9240 in Tennessee or (618) 997-5336 ext. 7783 in Illinois.