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City seeks employers to fill job fair at Ozark Correctional Center

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The city of Springfield’s Department of Workforce Development is seeking employers to participate in a job fair it’s hosting next month at the Ozark Correctional Center in Fordland.

Roughly half of the 15 companies desired are still needed in advance of the Dec. 8 event, according to Missouri Job Center spokesperson Katherine Trombetta.

“We specifically need companies who are hiring for welders and electricians,” she said via email, declining to disclose those already committed to participate.

Between 20-30 men will be released from OCC from January to March 2024 who are participants in the Job Center’s About Persons with Past Legal Issues in Employment program, commonly called APPLIE. Trombetta said employers who hire people through the APPLIE program can take advantage of an on-the-job training program, in which the Job Center reimburses half of the new employees’ wages via a federal grant for up to 1,040 hours, or six months. The city of Springfield received the three-year grant in 2021 from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

“One of the benefits of participating in this hiring event is that employers can interview, make an offer and hire someone prerelease so once the inmate gets out, they know a job is waiting for them,” Trombetta said. “These individuals are ready to go, can pass a drug screening and are hungry to work.”

The APPLIE program has 378 people enrolled, according to Job Center officials. Of those, 226 have been released from prison and 136 are in the workforce. 

Employers must register for the job fair by Dec. 1 and can contact Jennifer Biri, Job Center business services representative, at 417-841-1895 or jbiri@springfieldmo.gov.

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