Fair opportunities hiring: new year, new chances
05 January 2023
This year, Ramsey County and its community partners and will continue to draw attention to the desperate need for employers to embrace fair opportunities hiring practices for job seekers who have been impacted by the criminal justice system. According to the US Department of Justice, over 10,000 ex-prisoners are released from America’s state and federal prisons every week and arrive on the doorsteps of our nation's communities. More than 650,000 ex-offenders are released from prison every year. Employment, housing and mentoring are three key elements of successful re-entry into our communities.
In 2022, the first ever Welcome Home Party and Fair Chances Hiring Fair was held in Saint Paul’s Midway neighborhood, provided job opportunities and resources to individuals and their families who have struggled to be accepted into the community and in workplaces. The event was led by members of the community and received financial support from the WIB.
Community partner Strive Staffing believes opportunity should be inclusive. Inclusive hiring is good for business and society, by making placements with purpose, people can get on the path to success. Strive finds that inclusive hiring builds and strengthens employer workforces with more dedicated and loyal workers. Marcel Hofker, CEO and Founder of Strive Staffing says, "The Welcome Home Party brought together people, programs and large and small businesses, all under the concept of community gathering around our neighbors that have paid their debt to society and now need to be welcomed back by the community. I am emboldened by the people I connected with and their desire to make change. This movement has not yet seen its day but through events like this, that day will come." J.F., one of the job seekers that attended the Welcome Home event, has navigated several rejections from employers who eliminate him from job opportunities due to a felony fifteen years ago. J.F. comments, “We did our time. When do we get to be human again?”
For J.F. and many other individuals returning from incarceration, that day can be soon. Watch for fair opportunities hiring advocacy and educational events for employers taking place in the upcoming year. Get involved and make a difference.
Coffee and Conversation: A discussion on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Regional and Local Workforce Development Plan