FLINT — Inmates in the Genesee County Jail’s IGNITE educational program will soon have the chance to pursue job training through Hurley Medical Center.
On July 7, Hurley and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office announced the beginning of a partnership that will help prepare IGNITE students for jobs in the healthcare industry. IGNITE (Inmate Growth Naturally and Intentionally Through Education), which was launched last September, provides inmates with the resources and training they need to improve their lives after incarceration.
Summer Jenkins, Vice President of Human Resources for Hurley, said that the partnership between the hospital and the jail will offer training for entry level jobs and a path toward healthcare career options for inmates who have gone through the IGNITE program.
“We noticed that IGNITE is making efforts to elevate returning citizens into the community so they can rebuild their lives and create brighter futures for themselves,” she said. “It only makes sense that Hurley Medical Center, being one of the major contributors to our economic development locally… would partner with IGNITE. Because we need to provide job opportunities to the same community that we’ve promised clinical excellence and service to.”
Genesee County Ambassador Percy Glover, a parole/re-entry specialist who works with the Sheriff’s Office, said that former inmates historically have a difficult time getting jobs in the healthcare field—partly because hospitals are reluctant to hire individuals with criminal records.
“From a workforce development standpoint, returning citizens have been etched out of the healthcare field,” Glover said. “For a recognized community hospital to step up and take the lead in this area…(that) is historic.”
In addition to providing job training, Glover said that Hurley also plans to hold health and wellness workshops for former IGNITE students on topics such as healthcare disparities, diabetes and heart care.
Classes provided by Hurley are expected to be held at IGNITE’s post-incarceration training hub on 5601 N. Saginaw Street in Flint, which offers courses in 12 skilled trades programs along with financial literacy courses and other opportunities for inmates once they leave the county jail.
Since IGNITE’s inception last September, 18 inmates have graduated from the program with either GEDs or certifications for jobs with skills they acquired through IGNITE. Around 200 inmates are currently enrolled in the program, spending two hours each day with coursework and study.