Work and Gain Education and Employment Skills (WAGEES)
In 2014, the legislature passed HB14-1355. Among its other reforms, the law created a reentry community grant program within the Colorado Department of Corrections, the Work and Gain Education & Employment Skills (WAGEES) program, to provide funding to community-based organizations that support people returning from incarceration.
WAGEES Community Partners are a collective group of community and faith-based organizations funded in part by the WAGEES program that provide a wide array of services to community members, including people returning from incarceration. Community Partners have leadership and staff with lived experience; meaning many of them have served time in prison and now have an expertise and passion to help other people successfully transition back to community.
All WAGEES Community Partners are independent organizations that reflect the specific communities they serve. Colorado’s diversity and regional difference create unique opportunities and challenges. These Community Partners are best suited to develop local responses to reentry needs within the unique context of the communities they work in and with. This approach helps preserve local autonomy, create innovations that work at the local level and leverages the collective community partnership to identify and replicate effective practices