SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — It can sometimes be difficult for those who’ve paid their debt to society to transition back into society. That’s why the state is starting a new program that aims to support people making the transition from the Department of Justice, to the Department of Labor.

It’s called the “Walking the Last Mile” program and it’s meant to remove employment barriers by providing skills, assessments, and connections to those leaving prison and transitioning into the private sector. The 12-week program offers job-seeking support such as resume building, mock interviews, skills assessments, training, connections with potential employers, and exclusive interviews.

GDOL Commissioner Bruce Thompson says the initiative will not only help former inmates write a new chapter but will also offer solutions to the labor shortage, as well as reduce crime.

“Programs like Walking the Last Mile are critical to filling gaps in the state’s workforce and helping Georgians get their lives back on track. By investing in rehabilitation and removing barriers to employment, we are creating opportunities for successful reentry and a safer, more prosperous Georgia for all,” Thompson said.

As an added benefit to employers, the “Walking the Last Mile” initiative will work in tandem with the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program, which offers tax credits for hiring qualified individuals who face barriers to employment. Program Manager Joe Argo believes this is a win-win for former inmates and employers.

“Our goal is to give every person in the program the tools and support needed to land a good job. By tapping into people’s strengths and providing targeted assistance, we aim to help returning citizens find work and become productive members of society,” Argo said.

The initial program will launch next month in Atlanta and is already gaining support from statewide manufacturers and contractors.