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The Vocational and Life Skills Program (VLS) was created by Nebraska Legislative Bill 907 in 2014 with the goals of reducing recidivism and increasing employment for individuals who are incarcerated, have been incarcerated within the prior 18 months, or are under Parole or Probation supervision. Eight programs were funded in Grant Cycle 2, which ran from July 2016-June 2018. The Nebraska Center for Justice Research (NCJR) evaluation was initiated in May 2016 with the primary goal of identifying types of programming and services that best serve the population by reducing recidivism and increasing employment. NCJR provided support to grantees through trainings and site visits as needed, and managed all participant data entered into the online data management system created specifically for VLS. NCJR continues to provide feedback and information to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) regarding the implementation process and data updates on a monthly and quarterly basis.

Grant Cycle 2 procedures were built by NDCS VLS, program providers, and NDCS reentry using information gathered during the first grant cycle. Lessons learned helped VLS to increase its capacity to provide programming as well as the ability to gather data on participants. VLS continues to update service providers to ensure the best programming is available to Nebraska participants. It also continues to improve its ability to connect reentry resources to one another to better serve participants. The establishment of a reentry advisory council and having an opportunity to speak to Nebraska State Legislators greatly increased the visibility of the VLS programming in the state. This report details evaluation updates and participant data from the entire grant cycle (2). All graphs and tables are current through Quarter 8.



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