Michigan is more than doubling the capacity of a special job-training program for qualified prisoners who are nearing their release.
The state has opened a second "vocational village" in as many years, this time at the minimum-security Parnall Correctional Facility near Jackson.
Inmates are earning certificates for in-demand fields such as machining, masonry and truck driving. The initiative is aimed at reducing recidivism.
Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington next hopes to start a third village at the state's only women's prison in Ypsilanti.
Of the 51 prisoners to finish at the first village, 69 percent are employed.
Officials believe the opportunities for inmate employment are greater now because of Michigan's shortages in skilled trades.