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Building Community by Creating Opportunity - Hiring Justice Involved Individuals
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When: October 14, 2020
8:30 am - 10:00 am
Where: Virtual - Online Program
United States
Contact: Sheri Peck

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Building Community by Creating Opportunity

Hiring Justice Involved Individuals

8:15 am - Login

8:30 am to 9:00 am - Business Meeting

9:00 am to 10:00 am - Program

According to an article written prior to the pandemic: “At a time when unemployment is at a 17-year low of 3.9% and 70 million Americans -  or 1 in 3 adults - have a criminal record, employers are widening their search for job candidates to include people with criminal histories.  U.S. employers are willing to hire someone with a record if that applicant is the best person for the job, according to a survey from SHRM and CKI released in May 2018.”  The article also quotes Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM‘s president and chief executive office as stating “employers must think differently about both jobs and the people who can fill them,” noting that many people with criminal records are willing and able to work.”

In North Carolina, ninety-five percent of the over 35,000 incarcerated individuals will eventually be released. Approximately 40% will reoffend and return to prison within 3 years of release if we do not actively assist in reducing the barriers of transitioning back into our local communities. The recidivism of justice involved individuals directly affects nearly everyone - victims, taxpayers, family members, and community resources. The six major determining factors of recidivism are: education, housing, mental health, substance abuse disorder, transportation, and employment.   Justice involved individuals, who often work harder to prove their appreciation for being given a second chance, as well as their value to the company, are a non-traditional talent pool to be strongly considered.

During this panel presentation we hope to provide an understanding of how the community can assist criminal justice involved individuals address their criminogenic needs and be successful in both the workplace and their personal lives. Panel members will:

  • Share information on the benefits that are available to employers who are willing to hire justice involved individuals.
  • Provide facts that de-bunk myths surrounding the justice involved.
  • Educate on supports and educational services available in our community.
  • Discuss the community case management approach and clarify how employer relationships with case managers can help to build successful employees.
  • Inform of the benefits and value of hiring justice involved individuals, to both the company and the community

Panel Members Include:

Philip Cooper, Coordinator for Up Skill WNC and the Founder of Hire Powered Staffing. Philip has committed his life to human services and specializes in working with justice involved citizens. As an expert by experience, Philip has evolved into a regional Change Agent, advocating and innovating solutions for public safety.

Brent Bailey is the Program Coordinator for the Buncombe County Re-entry Council, which assists anyone returning to Buncombe County from prison with their goals around housing, transportation, education, and employment. Brent has been working in re-entry for over 9 years. His experience as a former offender offers him a unique perspective when it comes to navigating re-entry.

Vanessa L. James, Regional Reentry Specialist, for the NC Department of Commerce, serves 22 counties in Western NC in collaboration with the NC Works Career Centers and the Workforce Development Boards. With a Bachelor’s Degree from Davidson College, Master’s Degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and work experience assisting individuals in crisis and transition, Ms. James sees the community through a holistic lens. She promotes equitable hiring incentives, including Federal Bonding and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to businesses and serves persons who are previously or currently involved in the criminal justice system, specifically assisting with employment and supportive services. In addition, Ms. James serves as a chaplain at the Buncombe County Detention Facility in Asheville, NC.

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