The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area and the National Employment Law Project have launched a new project in Alameda County, supported by the Alameda County Department of Public Health’s Innovations in Reentry Fund. The project seeks to promote successful reentry by addressing the need for meaningful economic opportunity for formerly incarcerated people.
Drawing on national models and lessons learned through our current work, our project engages the employer community as a means of affecting the overarching economic environment in which formerly incarcerated people are struggling to succeed. This foundational work will help position reentry as an issue in which all community members, and businesses in particular, have a stake.
In June and July of 2014, we hosted a series of events to convene business leaders in Alameda County to discuss the economic impact of barriers to reentry. Attendees at the events learned from business leaders about how fair chance hiring can help their bottom line and provide a second chance. They also heard from experts to demystify the process of hiring people with records, and had the opportunity to sign up for free legal advice on creating personnel policies to hire people with records..
In the fall of 2014, we launched a public education campaign to raise awareness among hiring decision-makers about the untapped talent that is overlooked when employers screen out people with past criminal records. A Good Hire: Resources for Finding Undiscovered Talent provides information about “fair chance” hiring practices that will allow help employers reach this untapped pool of talent.
- For businesses, we offer training workshops as well as individualized counsel and advice on hiring practices, personnel policies, and other legal issues related to fair chance hiring.
- For job-seekers and entrepreneurs, we provide legal information about rights and protections, and help give direction to those interested in starting their own small businesses.
- For workforce development centers, we support education of resource specialists and help implement practices currently required by the U.S. Dept. of Labor.
For more information about this project, please contact: Meredith Desautels, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-543-9444, x223.