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Grant awarded to Indiana company employing ex-offenders

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – On the surface, Recycle Force is another recycling plant; but look closer and you’ll find that precious metals and plastics aren’t the only things getting second chances.

“There’s a practicality about embracing people that are coming home, from a mistake, to try to help them to not make that mistake again,” president Gregg Keesling said.

Each employee at Recycle Force is an ex-offender, considered by the courts to be high-risk. Keesling says he hires formerly incarcerated people to help rebuild their lives through employment and social services. This week, Recycle Force was awarded a grant for $85,000 by the Key Bank Foundation.

Keesling says grants like the one from Key Bank foundation help the company to continue their mission of providing transitional employment for ex-offenders. Now he’s hoping to raise awareness about the importance of transitional employment.

“It keeps our communities safer, it provides work, so we can do our recycling and help our environmental community and it allows them to be fathers and mothers, and have the money to become a part of society,” he said.

Since 2006, Recycle Force has employed nearly 1,200 men and women, providing them with industry-recognized training and certification, on-the-job training and job placement services.

Recycle Force is one of the companies that is part of a Department of Labor study looking at the effectiveness of transitional employment. Keesling says one of his employees has been invited to speak to a panel in Washington D.C about the program.