The Champaign Project is a two year study to evaluate the most efficient and effective ways to develop and implement a long term strategic plan to help our target market reenter the workforce and become a productive member of society. This project aims to prove the feasibility and sustainability of the concept on a small scale while gaining the resources to expand the program to communities that do not already have such an infrastructure in place.
This project follows the model recommended by the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council (SPAC) when it called Employment Training & Job Assistance in the Community the greatest contributing factor in preventing recidivism. We will take advantage of local resources including the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in designing training regimens and screening/placement tests that can be reproduced throughout the state. It also incorporates elements of existing job placement programs for other groups, working from prearranged partnerships with corporate America in order to make sure that we don’t simply identify where an individual needs to be in order to support themselves and be happy with it, but we can actually put them in that position.
The Champaign project, while exploratory, is not simply an academic pursuit. As programs come together for testing, we will be helping participants to the greatest of our ability and monitoring their progress to make sure they do not fall back into habits likely to cause regression into crime.
The Champaign area, being in line for new jail construction and also home to several major corporations and learning institutions, is the ideal downstate location for such a program. As such, we will focus there, refining the process of testing, training, placement, and observation until it can be reliably applied by community-based organizations across the state, or simple expanded to include more areas.