Job Fair Held For Returning Citizens As Part Of The Deparment Of Justice's Smart On Crime Initiative
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN —U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles announced the holding of a job fair today in West Michigan for individuals who have recently returned to our communities after serving their terms in the custody of either the Michigan Department of Corrections or the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The event is part of the Department of Justice’s Smart on Crime initiative. Approximately 250 returning citizens connected with 18 local employers about job opportunities at the Job Fair, which took place at LINC UP, 1167 Madison SE, in Grand Rapids. This is the first job fair in West Michigan targeting returning citizens.
"Employment is crime prevention," U.S. Attorney Miles explained. "We are working on not only prosecuting crimes, but also preventing them. A lack of job opportunity for those who have paid their debt to society and served their time is a primary reason they return to a life of crime. A felony record should not be an automatic life-time ban on any employment. We need those with a felony record in their past to be productive citizens contributing to society and taking care of their loved ones."
The Job Fair follows the Employer Summit U.S. Attorney Miles held with area employers in May to encourage them to consider increasing their talent pool through the hiring of formerly incarcerated individuals. Given the turn-out of employers today, the Summit succeeded. Eighteen companies were represented at the Fair, including Cascade Engineering and Butterball Farms Inc. Cascade Engineering and Butterball Farms, Inc., have experienced great success hiring returning citizens. U.S. Attorney Miles expects the many additional employers in attendance today will soon have the same experience. Approximately 250 candidates for employment attended to help prove him right.
U.S. Attorney Miles noted that "about one in three Americans has a criminal record. I appreciate those employers who recognize the importance of not excluding a large segment of our society from being productive."
The Employer Summit and Job Fair are part of U.S. Attorney Miles’s on-going efforts to address the problem of recidivism beyond simply re-prosecuting. In 2015, he introduced "Facing Choices" forums in partnership with the Michigan Department of Corrections, for state parolees. Parolees are not only reminded that they will be held accountable if they re-offend, they also hear from formerly incarcerated individuals who share strategies for success while on parole. U.S. Attorney Miles will host a Facing Choices forum next week in Benton Harbor. U.S. Attorney Miles’s office also supports the U.S. District Court’s Accelerated Community Entry program of intensive supervision for individuals on federal supervised release who present a high risk of recidivism.