LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A service to help formerly incarcerated individuals get back on their feet is about to expand in Arkansas.

Goodwill Industries of Arkansas announced Monday that it had received a $749,973 grant so it could expand its Transitional Employment Opportunity program. The grant is from the United States Department of Justice and will be paid out over the next three years.

Goodwill’s TEO program was first instituted in 2009, providing job and life skills training for men and women who had just been released from prison. The grant will allow the program to expand to 20 communities across the state, serving 900 clients, Goodwill stated.

“This grant will not only impact the individuals who receive our TEO program services, it will also produce a ripple effect on their families, local communities, Arkansas’ workforce and economy that is nearly impossible to measure,” Goodwill Industries of Arkansas President and CEO Brian Marsh said. “Transforming lives is an effort that takes collaboration among a number of stakeholders, including our local and state governments, and other non-profits that place a priority on education, training and employment.”

Letters of support for TEO were submitted, including one from Congressman French Hill.

“The Goodwill Industries of Arkansas continues to have a profound impact in our communities through their efforts to provide opportunities to individuals upon their reentry to society,” Hill said. “These opportunities provide professional skills training and sets regimens and routines while reducing the rate of recidivism. I was proud to support their application for this grant and look forward to the good work GIA continues to do within our immediate community.”

Arkansas is having some success with recidivism. Currently the state has a 47% recidivism rate, meaning 47% of state inmates return to prison after release. In 2013 the rate was 58%.