Hawkeye Community College Launches New Workforce Program Focused on Reducing Recidivism, Building Skilled Worker Pipelines

posted on Monday, October 25, 2021 in  College News

WATERLOO–Hawkeye Community College has launched a new program to provide education and career services to individuals with a criminal record within the First Judicial District. 

The Pathways to Education and Employment for Reentry (PEER) program provides educational counseling, career exploration, job readiness and hands-on job training, and resource referrals to individuals involved with Black Hawk County Correctional Services. 

“The First Judicial District is thrilled to have a great partnership with Hawkeye Community College,” said Ken Kolthoff, director of the First Judicial District. “The services they provide our clients provide them with the skills necessary not only to find jobs, but more important, sustainable careers.”

Studies have shown that individuals who participate in job training programs are 48% less likely to recidivate. Services provided through PEER will help fight recidivism while developing a new workforce pipeline for business and industry in the Cedar Valley. 

“Having Hawkeye in the jail has provided inmates with excitement and knowledge knowing they have an opportunity to pursue their education goals,” said Jessica Roush, jail diversion social worker for Black Hawk County. “Belle [Fleishhacker], PEER coordinator, has shown inmates that their incarceration should not hold them back from obtaining an education that will lead to a sustainable career. We are excited to have this partnership with Hawkeye.”

Since launch, 61 individuals have completed the program or are currently enrolled, with the goal of serving 120 individuals in the first year. For more information about PEER, call 319-296-4296, ext.3103, or email peer@hawkeyecollege.edu.  


  1. Pathways to Education and Employment for Reentry
  2. workforce development
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