Events

Fair Chance Hiring Summit: Focus on Formerly Incarcerated Veterans

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When we started Pacific Reentry Career Services, one of our goals was to be advocates for fair chance hiring so we could help open up job opportunities for the formerly incarcerated. We held our first Fair Chance Hiring Summit back in June. Out of conversations at that summit, we realized there was a need for summits that focus on specific populations within the reentry community, which is why our November summit focused on the employment challenges faced by formerly incarcerated veterans.

Cory Vigil shares his own story of being a formerly incarcerated veteran.

Cory Vigil shares his own story of being a formerly incarcerated veteran.

Stephanie Hammerwold, Pacific Reentry Career Services Executive Director, started things off at the November summit with an overview of fair chance hiring and the challenges faced by formerly incarcerated veteran. Hammerwold also mentioned that employers can benefit form the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) when hiring veterans, the formerly incarcerated and other hard-to-place job seekers. Next, Cory Vigil from the Working Wardrobes VetNet program. Vigil shared his own story about being a formerly incarcerated veteran and talked about the value of support services in helping formerly incarcerated veterans rebuild their lives.

Vigil was also part of a panel with Frank Fletcher and Agent Raj Talwar. Fletcher is the Local Veterans Employment Representative at the Santa Ana Cluster of the California Employment Development Department, and Talwar is a Parole Agent Supervisor with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The panel discussed the challenges faced by the formerly incarcerated veterans they work with and also explained why employers benefit when they hire this population. Veterans in general have strong teamwork skills and a good work ethic. When an employer hires a veteran, they are getting someone who is organized and disciplined. Just because a veteran has experienced incarceration, it does not mean that they have lost these abilities. By providing the necessary support services and opening up job opportunities, we help grow this skill set while also giving a formerly incarcerated veteran the chance at a stable income and meaningful work, which are important steps toward reentry success.

After a group discussion about formerly incarcerated veterans and fair chance hiring, Edward Clarke of Need4Bridges left attendees with some inspiring words. Clarke's organization mentors formerly incarcerated people as they rebuild their lives, and he underscored the importance of supporting this community if we are going to help reduce the chance that people will recidivate. This includes providing job opportunities.

Thank you to everyone who attended and to the Orange County One-Stop Center in Irvine for hosting our event and to the Orange County Re-Entry Partnership (OCREP) for supporting all our events. We look forward to continuing to provide educational opportunities that raise awareness about fair chance hiring. Watch our blog and subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to find out about upcoming events.

Thank you to Christopher Reeve Linares for the pictures included with this post.

Stephanie Hammerwold looks on as Edward Clarke (left) and Frank Fletcher (center) listen in to what other attendees are sharing.

Stephanie Hammerwold looks on as Edward Clarke (left) and Frank Fletcher (center) listen in to what other attendees are sharing.

November Fair Chance Hiring Summit

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When: Friday, November 17, 8:45-11 a.m.
Where: The Orange County One-Stop Center, 17891 Cartwright Rd. #200, Irvine, CA 92614
Cost: $25 per person, free for veterans and the formerly incarcerated

We are pleased to announce that we will be holding our second Fair Chance Hiring Summit on Friday, November 17. The Orange County One-Stop Center in Irvine will once again be hosting our summit at their office. The November summit will focus on the employment challenges faced by formerly incarcerated veterans and discuss ways that employers can support them in achieving success.

This event is designed for HR professionals, hiring managers and business owners. Attendees will leave with tips on implementing fair chance hiring policies in their workplace and learn about ways to engage with local service providers to provide employment to and support formerly incarcerated veterans in Orange County. A job can do a lot to help a formerly incarcerated veteran rebuild their lives, so it is important that employers do their part to help make this a reality.

Our speakers will include Cory Vigil from the VetNet program at Working Wardrobes; Frank Fletcher, the Local Veterans Employment Representative at America's Job Center of California at the Santa Ana W/O/R/K Center; Raj Talwar, a supervisor in the Anaheim Parole Office; Stephanie Hammerwold of Pacific Reentry Career Services; and Edward Clarke, the founder of Need4Bridges. We are working on adding additional speakers to our lineup.

This event would not be possible without the support of our friends at the Orange County Re-Entry Partnership (OCREP), Working Wardrobes, Need4Bridges and the Orange County One-Stop Center.

Fair Chance Hiring Summit

Our employment success stories panelists share their experience with fair chance hiring

Our employment success stories panelists share their experience with fair chance hiring

We held our first Fair Chance Hiring Summit last week on June 7, 2017. We had a mix of employers and service providers in attendance to discuss the benefits of hiring the formerly incarcerated. The summit is the first of many employer events we plan to hold in the Orange County area.

We developed the summit as part of our employer outreach efforts. Reentry success depends on having a supportive community. This includes having employers who use fair chance hiring practices that give the formerly incarcerated a second chance. The summit included a presentation on fair chance hiring and reentry by Stephanie Hammerwold, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Pacific Reentry Career Services. Jeffrey Malek of Malek & Malek presented on hiring best practices and background checks.

Reentry success depends on having a supportive community. This includes having employers who use fair chance hiring practices that give the formerly incarcerated a second chance.

Our employment success stories panel featured Quinton Hamilton of Higher Level Processing, Inc., Dean Bramlett of Crown Ace Hardware and Meghan Medlin of Taller San Jose Hope Builders. All three panelists made a strong case for hiring the reentry population. Bramlett shared stories of employees she hired who had a record and went on to have longevity at her company. Because the formerly incarcerated often have to work hard to land a job, they have a strong understanding of the value of that job and can end up being some of the most loyal employees. Hamilton's experience matched Bramlett's, and he offered examples of times he helped reentry employees find simple solutions to things like transportation to work. Often all it takes is small actions of supporting and believing in reentry employees to help them achieve employment success.

The event culminated in breakout groups where attendees had a chance to share questions, concerns and feedback about hiring the formerly incarcerated. We will be compiling this information into a report to share with attendees and the reentry service providers in an effort to foster strong connections between employers and job seekers.

We want to give a big thank you the Orange County Re-Entry Partnership (OCREP) for supporting our summit and special thanks to OCREP Director Meghan Medlin of Taller San Jose Hope Builders and OCREP Assistant Director Ashley Baribeault-Vlcan of Working Wardrobes. Thanks also to the Orange County One-Stop Center in Irvine and Matthew Macauley for providing the space for our summit. Thanks to the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for helping promote the event, and thanks to Rosemary Touyanou for being at our summit to share information on Santiago Canyon College's free classes.

Stay tuned to our blog for more information from the summit, and mark your calendar for Tuesday, July 11 at 3 p.m. for the OCREP general meeting where we will review our findings for the summit and talk about how we can better prepare formerly incarcerated job seekers for employment success.

Orange County's 3rd Annual Re-Entry Resource Fair--June 13

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Orange County's 3rd Annual Re-Entry Resource Fair is scheduled for June 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Honda Center in Anaheim. This free event is put on by the Orange County Re-Entry Partnership (OCREP) and other reentry service providers in Orange County. We are expecting nearly 60 vendors that cover a wide variety of services for formerly incarcerated people.

Pacific Reentry Career Services will be on site to provide resume review and career coaching. Be sure to stop by our table to say hi and to learn how we can help you prepare for career success.

See you there!

Fair Chance Hiring Summits

UPDATE: Our first Fair Chance Hiring Summit is scheduled for June 7, 2017 at the One-Stop Center in Irvine, CA. For more information and to register for this free event, please see our summit page.

There are many myths about hiring those with a criminal record, and this creates significant barriers for job seekers. At Pacific Reentry Career Services, one of our goals is to help break down these myths and to support employers in hiring the formerly incarcerated. Later this year we hope to start the conversation with employers by launching our Fair Chance Hiring Summits.

What is a Fair Chance Hiring Summit?

We have attended a number of reentry events and meetings since making the decision to found Pacific Reentry Career Services. One thing we noticed is that it is a challenge to get employers to the table when discussing the hiring of formerly incarcerated individuals. Employers are an important part of the community and a key part of helping people rebuild their lives following release from jail or prison, so it is important that we include them in the conversation.

The Fair Chance Hiring Summits are designed to provide a forum for employers to learn the advantages, challenges and rewards of hiring the formerly incarcerated. There will be plenty of time for questions and brainstorming, and attendees will also take away information on programs like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, Federal Bonding and community resources. Attendees will leave with specific actions they can take to implement fair chance hiring practices in their workplaces.

Employers will also have the chance to talk to service providers who work with the reentry community, employers who have had success with fair chance hiring and members of the reentry community.

Who Should Attend?

The summits are ideal for business owners, HR professionals and those that oversee hiring for their company. We also welcome employers who have had success hiring the formerly incarcerated, so they can share their experiences with other employers. This is also a good event for formerly incarcerated people who have an employment success story and advice they want to share with employers.

How Can Employers Get Involved?

The first Fair Chance Hiring Summit will be later this year in Orange County. Stay tuned to our blog for information on date, time and location. If you are interested in participating in or hosting an upcoming summit, please use our contact form to get in touch with us.

Can Service Providers Participate?

Yes, service providers are welcome to attend. This includes organizations that work with the reentry population on securing employment and those who work in parole and probation. One of our goals is to foster connections between those working with formerly incarcerated job seekers with employers.

Are Job Seekers Welcome to Attend?

This is not a hiring event, so it would not be ideal for job seekers to attend. We will be planning hiring events in the future that will bring fair chance employers and job seekers together, so we encourage you to stay tuned to our blog for more information about upcoming events.

Remember to check our blog regularly and sign up for our newsletter for updates on Fair Chance Hiring Summits and other events.

Reentry Employment Meeting in Irvine, Sept. 13

This month's Orange County Reentry Partnership general meeting will focus on the benefits of hiring the formerly incarcerated. This is an excellent opportunity for employers, service providers and job seekers to learn more about this important topic.

The meeting will include a panel discussion that covers best practices in using criminal backgrounds during the hiring process, special considerations when hiring the formerly incarcerated, success stories and more.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 13 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Working Wardrobes, which is located at 1851 Kettering St. in Irvine.  See you there!

Pacific Reentry Career Services News

We have been busy working behind the scenes as we launch Pacific Reentry Career Services. As we have been hard at work filing nonprofit paperwork, setting up insurance and planning all our programs fro job seekers and employers, we received word from the IRS that we were granted 501(c)(3) status.

So, what does this mean for Pacific Reentry Career Services? Having 501(c)(3) status officially makes us a nonprofit as recognized under the IRS tax code. This opens up possibilities for us to apply for grants to help fund the programs we create to get formerly incarcerated women into meaningful jobs that will help them rebuild their lives. It also means that all donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

We are also happy to announce the 2016 Reentry Solutions for Success Conference in Ontario, CA. The conference will take place October 19-20 and will be organized by the Federal Reserve Bank, the Orange County Reentry Partnership and other organizations. Stay tuned to our blog for more details. We hope to see you there!

Orange County's 2nd Annual Reentry Resource Fair

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Our friends at the Orange County Re-Entry Partnership (OCREP) and BI Inc. are partnering with Contra Costa County Office of Education Parole to put on a Reentry Resource Fair on Tuesday, May 24 from 12 to 3 p.m. at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.

The purpose of the Reentry Resource Fair is to provide formerly incarcerated men and women with accessible information and connection to resources in Orange County. The focus is on addressing basic needs and facilitating reintegration back into our community. It is also an opportunity for these men and women to be welcomed home, providing hope for the future as the best way to prevent recidivism.

Currently there are 52 providers confirmed, and there will be music and some great opportunity drawings. If you or a loved one were formerly incarcerated and are looking to find services to help you with employment, housing and more, be sure to attend the Reentry Resource Fair.