GENERIC: Trimmed tree

DTE Energy and Michigan's prison system have launched a tree-trimming program that aims to fill open jobs and find full-time employment for released inmates.

State, utility and union officials announced the program Tuesday at the Parnall Correctional Facility's Vocational Village in Jackson. The first class of 24 started there last month.

Prisoners who complete the training program will be eligible to join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 17 and take an open job with a local tree-trimming supplier.

Creators say the prisoners gain experience and get a job upon release -- a challenge for many parolees. A stable job also reduces the chance they will return to prison.

Officials add the new pool of eligible workers also will ease a shortage of trained people for the tree-trimming work.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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