BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — A new program is connecting those with low-level criminal charges with job opportunities in Broome County.
County officials announced the launch of the Workforce Diversion Program on Wednesday.
The Workforce Diversion Program requires that defendants complete job training and placement programs in exchange for dismissal or reduction of criminal charges.
Not all offenders are eligible for the program. The Broome County District Attorney’s Office notes that those with misdemeanor or low-level E felony charges could qualify for the program, but on a case-by-case basis.
According to the district attorney’s office those offenses amount to around 5,000 cases per year.
Those charged with violent crimes or sex crimes do not qualify, the district attorney’s office added.
“Reforming individuals who make mistakes and preventing future crime is what we work to do every day,” Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell said in a news release. “Unfortunately, there’s many people with barriers to employment because of low-level criminal charges. Our goal to is train these individuals to make an honest living and contribute to our community, rather than living a life of crime and dependency.”
The training and placement is provided for people ages 18 through 24 by Career Bound, which is administered through Cornell Cooperative Extension. Those who are 25 years old and older are trained and placed through Broome-Tioga Workforce.
Warehouse and assembly line jobs, service industry positions, retail jobs, trades, and transportation fields are available to those who complete training.
The program is open to employed and unemployed offenders, although the program would work differently for those who are employed.
The Addiction Center of Broome County, UHS Behavioral Health, The Rescue Mission, and Binghamton Drug Treatment Court plan to use the WDP, the district attorney’s office notes.
Funding for the WDP was allocated in the 2019 Broome County Budget.
The district attorney’s office states there are 3,380 job openings in the region, with about half not requiring a degree.
PHOTO: BROOME COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE