Federal grant gives APPLIE program room to expand

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Workforce Development Department in Springfield has received a three-million-dollar federal grant.

The money is being used for an expansion on a program called “APPLIE.”

The program helps people get jobs, but participants say it is much more than that.

Program participant Michael Rennison was searching for his confidence as his release date from prison approached.

“I had been gone for a long time. It was something I needed. It was totally different. I got locked up when I was 18. And I had a robbery charge. I had multiple robbery charges, and it was 13 years ago. To step out and try to start from the very ground, from the bottom. Because you got to think you don’t have nothing,” says Rennison.

The program starts three to six months before a person is released from prison. The goal is to get them a job after they leave.

“We’ve been doing the APPLIE program about persons with past legal issues since 2006,” says Sally Payne, Interim Director of Workforce Development.

“They teach you how you can use the stuff you’ve done inside like working in the kitchen or doing a maintenance job, that still is a job had you can apply and put on your application,” says Rennison.

For Rennison, the program helped him get his dream job.

“I finally found something I’m truly happy with, and I’ll probably do till I retire. They saved my life. Just like my family and all that. But, they taught me how to succeed and having a living, and support my family and myself. And become something other than what I was in the past,” says Rennison.

Participants can also receive 50 to 100 dollars for completing courses in the program.

With the grant, the APPLIE program will be put to use in the Ozarks Correctional Center, the Tipton Center, and the Chillicothe Women’s Center, helping nearly 400 people.