A recruiting agency for returning citizens, building a prison to work pipeline.
by Daniel A. Rosen |
To create a “prison to work pipeline” for returning citizens through tailored job search, recruiting and hiring, community partnerships, and the power of social media.
America and the world are recovering from the pandemic, but our economy is lacking the available workforce needed to return to normal. Many businesses are unable to reopen because they aren’t fully staffed.
Meanwhile, 650,000 returning citizens walk out of prison every year needing work after years inside. Half of them will still be unemployed a year later, and a third will still be jobless a year after that. Over 11 million arrestees will also be booked and jailed this year – some for a day or two, some for months or even years. Many of them will lose their job while awaiting bond, a plea deal, or a trial.
A stunning two-thirds of prison inmates nationally will be back behind bars after three years, and joblessness helps them get there. That’s a failure rate we shouldn’t accept as inevitable any longer, especially since we know that unemployment is a key predictor of recidivism. Though endless well-intentioned government and non-profit agencies offer job “referrals” to returning citizens, steady employment is still hard to come by for those walking out of prison. A real, no-kidding position and a paycheck – a legitimate one that will meet with the approval of probation officers – is always in short supply.
Prison2Work.org can help.
Prison2Work.org will partner with social media and an established employment search company to pilot the “Prison2Work Pipeline.” This job search/hiring program for returned citizens builds on the existing, well-defined skill areas many former inmates have gained through vocational training and on-the-job experience. Google has successfully pioneered this idea for military veterans, matching Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) codes with available jobs.
A well-publicized “Prison2Work” social media campaign in pilot locations will recruit returnees into jobs in vocations many already have experience doing: culinary and hospitality, maintenance and repair, laundry, barbering, and prison light industry enterprises like printing, cabinetry, and automotive services.
We’ll match people to real jobs, and see them through the hiring process. We’ll give businesses that proactively welcome returned citizens a clear avenue for recruiting and hiring more easily. We’ll provide educational support and skills certification or training online and through local partners where it’s needed, so returnees aren’t limited in their search. And we’ll rely on established local reentry agencies that assist returnees with job placement and retraining – our “Pipeline Partners” – supercharging their existing work in this area.
A tailored employment search/hiring function can greatly facilitate the success of local returnees, becoming a nation-wide tool for more successful reentry. We can go further and partner with state and local corrections agencies to introduce P2W access directly into jails and prisons, so inmates can search listings and secure interviews or even land jobs prior to their release.
We’ll work with state and federal government entities to encourage the expansion of tax incentives and bonding programs for hiring released felons. And we’ll advocate at those levels for occupational licensing reform, so that those with felony records aren’t automatically rejected.
Recidivism isn’t inevitable, and neither is discrimination in hiring against those returning from prison. They’re our brothers, fathers, sisters, sons and daughters. Helping them stay free through stable employment is helping to strengthen our communities and our economy, and it’s time we made a commitment to do better. Creating a pipeline directly from prison to well-paying, stable work is more than just the right thing to do – it’s a means to safer and more prosperous communities, lower recidivism rates, and fewer lives needlessly lost to the prison system.
For more information, find us at Prison2Work.org, or contact us at Prison2WorkPipeline@gmail.com.
Also see: Facebook: facebook.com/Prison2Work, Instagram: @Prison2Work, Twitter: @Prison2Work