National, Local Employment Programs in Rhode Island to Highlight Road Way to Employment for Ex-Offenders Reentering the Community
Business owners, hiring managers, employment specialists, labor experts, and others to share resources and benefits of including ex-offenders in workforce development strategies
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Each year, an average of 600,000 individuals across the country, approximately 3,000 in Rhode Island, reenter the community from prison, many of them committed to supporting themselves and their families, to become productive citizens, and to not re-offend and return to prison. Literature suggests employment is a predictor of post-release recidivism.
United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, working closely with Rhode Island Department of Corrections Director A.T. Wall, and in partnership with the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Probation, the Governor’s Office, the Department of Labor and Training, the Attorney General’s Office, the law firm of Partridge Snow & Hahn, Open Doors and Amos House, and employers whose workforce development strategy includes hiring ex-offenders, have been leading outreach efforts to connect employers with the information and support they need to make informed decisions to develop workforce strategies which include ex-offenders.
On May 25, 2016, businesses owners, employers and hiring managers from across Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts will gather for Road Map to Reentry: Community Workforce Development, a summit to share workforce development strategies to integrate formerly incarcerated individuals into the workforce.
Johns Hopkins Health Systems, a nationally recognized leader in creating employment opportunities for ex-offenders, and Pet Food Experts located in Cumberland, Rhode Island, a long-time supporter of providing employment opportunities to ex-offenders, will lead a discussion of hiring practices, successes and challenges associated with employing formerly incarcerated individuals. Ex-offenders will speak to the personal challenges they confronted and rewards they now realize by having been given the opportunity to work.
Additionally, the Department of Labor and Training, and state and federal probation supervisors, will detail the many support systems and resources available to employers and employees, including financial incentives employers may qualify for when they hire ex-offenders. Agencies such as Open Doors and Amos House will detail pre and post-release assistance for ex-offenders readying them to rejoin the workforce. In addition, an employment and labor attorney, a partner at Partridge Snow & Hahn, will address the employment law implications of the program.
In announcing the Summit, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha commented, “No matter how long the sentence, the fact is that the vast majority of those we arrest, prosecute and incarcerate don’t stay locked up forever. These released inmates are coming home to cities and towns throughout Rhode Island. If these individuals return to a future that is no future at all, they are very likely to commit another crime. New crimes result in new victims, which alone is bad enough. Moreover, a return to prison results in enormous cost to the Rhode Island taxpayers. This kind of financial burden, hardly unique to Rhode Island, is simply not sustainable. Once former inmates are out, we have to do everything we can to make sure that they stay out. Most want to work, and want to work hard. What they need is a chance; a chance that will help them, help their prospective employers, and ultimately help all Rhode Islanders. In a country where nearly one in three Americans of working age has some kind of criminal record, we simply cannot ignore or permanently sideline this part of our workforce.”
Roadmap to Reentry: Community Workforce Development is a free summit. Business owners, employers and hiring managers wishing to attend the summit on May 25, 2016, at the Radisson Hotel in Warwick, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., are encouraged to register at www.usaoritraining.org/CWD
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
on Twitter @USAO_RI