A reentry organization founded in Cleveland, Ohio, is working to eliminate misconceptions that employers have about the risks involved in hiring ex-prisoners.
Breaking the Cycle, Inc. has assisted hundreds of veterans, ex-prisoners, and other returning citizens in finding employment and productivity in their lives. The group has been providing career counseling and social media training to ex-prisoners in Cleveland since 2008. Breaking the Cycle strives to reduce recidivism by hosting job-readiness classes and community job fairs for the Cleveland area, which is home to about 16,000 ex-prisoners.
Now Breaking the Cycle has partnered with a business coaching and consulting company called Opulence Enterprises, LLC to raise awareness about the benefits of hiring ex-prisoners. The alliance between the two groups will focus on teaching companies how to hire productively, screen applicants effectively, and improve employee retention.
Breaking the Cycle and Opulence Enterprises are taking their partnership to Atlanta next month to host two events for HR professionals and other business professionals interested in networking and learning more about employing returning citizens:
- Coffee and Donuts “Hire-a-Vet & Returning Citizen” HR Meet-and-Greet
- Veteran and Returning Citizen Resource and Career Expo
LeTonya Moore, CEO and Chief Counsel of Opulence Enterprises, says these events will focus on “dispelling myths and challenging perceptions attached to the ‘criminal history’ stigma, discussing tools and strategies to protect companies from negligent hiring liability, and other useful means of presenting win-win scenarios to help our community.”
The Federal Bureau of Prisons notes several ex-prisoner employment benefits that favor the employee, the employer, and society. Often times, prisoners receive in-prison training that teaches them a particular skill they can use in the workforce. They may have gained proficiency in a very specific vocation in which it is difficult to find skilled workers. Giving ex-prisoners an outlet for their skills allows them to contribute to society, pay taxes, become independent, and provide for their families. And companies that hire ex-prisoners may be eligible for government business incentives, such as bonding programs or the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which gives money to the employers’ bottom line.
Prison Fellowship’s reentry program, InnerChange Freedom Initiative, stresses personal responsibility and the value of the education and hard work that lead prisoners to become contributing members of society. If ex-prisoners can be there for their families – financially and emotionally – they have the opportunity to stop the generational cycle of crime in their households. You can learn more about IFI and how you can get involved here.