Jackson to Hire ‘Returning Citizens’ to Develop City’s 100GB Broadband

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The City of Jackson will employ "returning citizens" re-entering the community after serving time to establish the Jackson's forthcoming 100GB high-speed broadband network. At the City's regular Monday press briefing on Aug. 6, Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba announced the "Path Out of Poverty Workforce Development Pilot Program," a partnership between Oxfam America Inc. and New Way Mississippi Inc., to prepare returning citizens for success, as the mayor put it.

"We are happy for our partnership with Oxfam and happy for our partnership with New Way Mississippi," Mayor Lumumba said. "This creates the opportunity for returning citizens to be able to find employment. As we speak about the concept of dignity economies (and) moving away from cycles of humiliation we have seen time and time again."

Candice Cole, the City's communications manager, said the faster Internet is part of the redevelopment plan for the city's fiber-optic infrastructure that would deliver high-speed broadband access to educational institutions, hospitals, museums, tech companies and more.

Jackson's chief administrative officer, Robert Blaine, said selected returning citizens will enter a fiber-optic job bootcamp to "identify any barriers or any workforce training needs that will help returning citizens successfully enter the workforce and meet the needs of the city."

Larry Perry, president and CEO of New Way Mississippi, which has provided re-entry services in Jackson since 1998, said that returning citizens of all backgrounds are housed in his program, with the exception of sex offenders. Everyone in his program, both violent and non-violent offenders, will be afforded the opportunity to work for the City based on screening for behavior issues and random drug testing, Perry said.

"(W)hen we refer people to a position with the City of Jackson, we want them to have quality employees," Perry said. "We believe that sometimes your problem can be your solution. We have a lack of

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