In Zanesville, Portman Meets with Muskingum County’s Restored Citizens Network


County Network Received $475,953 Grant Through Portman’s Bipartisan Second Chance Act


December 6, 2019 | Press Releases

ZANESVILLE, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) met with board members of Muskingum County’s Restored Citizens Network, an organization that strives to make Muskingum and surrounding counties a safer place to live, work, and raise a family through engaging offenders returning to the community. Last year, the Restored Citizens Network received a $475,953 grant through Senator Portman’s bipartisan Second Chance Act, a law that is working to help people exiting the prison system rebuild their lives by getting the mental health treatment and skills training they need to reenter the workforce. This funding will go towards ForeverDads, an organization that designs and manages programming to encourage, educate, and equip men to develop positive relationships with their children, family, and community.

“I enjoyed my visit today with board members of Muskingum County’s Restored Citizens Network to learn about the great work they are doing throughout the county and beyond,” said Portman. “We discussed how the organization is using Second Chance Act grant funding to provide resources for their ForeverDads program. My bipartisan Second Chance Act has changed thousands of lives in Ohio, and my bipartisan JOBS Act will complement it by ensuring that individuals in programs like those run by ForeverDads have the opportunity to learn the skills for the jobs available today. I’m pleased that ForeverDads has a strong presence in Muskingum County and that they will continue to help former inmates live up to their God-given potential.”

“The Restored Citizens Network (RCN) began this journey over eight years ago with a mission to assist those individuals in our communities who have made bad decisions to be productive citizens. The Board of Directors under the direction of then president Misty Cromwell who is now the Executive Director of Muskingum Area Mental Health & Recovery Services began the process of obtaining a federal grant so that this mission could move forward. The Board of Directors of The Restored Citizens Network was awarded the grant and know that without the guidance and assistance from the office of Senator Rob Portman, this would not have been possible. We are proud to say through the work and dedication with our networking partners and Mr. Burl Lemon of Forever Dads, we have over 30 clients who are receiving the tools that they need to become productive citizens in Muskingum County,” said April Cohagen – Gibson, President, Board of Directors, Muskingum County’s Restored Citizens Network.

Ohio and our nation are seeing economic growth, new job creation, and rising wages for the first time in nearly a generation. However, employers are saying they can’t find workers with the skills to fill the available jobs.  Portman has taken the lead to address this skills gap by authoring the JOBS Actwhich will help give individuals like those involved with ForeverDad’s programs the ability to pursue the skills training necessary to get the jobs available today. Portman’s bipartisan JOBS Act, will make high-quality and rigorous short-term job training programs more affordable by expanding access to Pell Grants for low-income students. In addition, his Second Chance Act is working to help people exiting the prison system rebuild their lives by getting the mental health treatment and skills training they need to reenter the workforce.   

Then-Congressman Portman originally authored the Second Chance Act with the late-Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and it was signed into law in 2008. Since 2009, more than 850 Second Chance Act grant awards have been made to government agencies and nonprofit organizations from 49 states for reentry programs serving adults and juveniles – and Ohio has benefited significantly.  As of June 2018, more than 164,000 individuals have participated in these programs. In total, Ohio has received more than $39 million in Second Chance Act grants since 2009, which includes funds to assist Ohioans reentering the community with services such as job training, drug rehabilitation, case management and mental health treatment.

Photos from the event are below: