For years, AMS has been fully engaged in workforce development and actively hiring individuals who have experienced obstacles in joining the workforce. One of the groups facing obstacles is persons who have a criminal record or who are seeking ‘reentry’.
Formerly incarcerated individuals make up an untapped talent pool for employment. For example, while nearly half of employers report that they struggle to fill jobs, at the same time more than 60% of formerly incarcerated individuals are unemployed a year after release. Another important statistic: 1 in 3 adult Americans has a criminal record, so this truly is a large talent pool.
Recently the California Legislature approved the Prison to Employment Initiative, and an Employer Engagement Workgroup was created to help carry out the obligations of the legislation. The Workgroup is seeking the assistance of employers in planning how to best utilize allocated funds.
Because of AMS’ record of involvement in issues of hiring justice involved individuals and AMS’ nationally recognized workforce development programs, Ken Wiseman, AMS CEO, was invited to participate in the Workgroup.
The Employer Engagement Workgroup is seeking to design a plan that will:
1) Increase the number of living wage job opportunities linked to career pathways. 2) Increase employer awareness of the benefits and value in hiring from this largely untapped pool. 3) Increase the number of employers willing to support the hiring and retention of the reentry population.
Ken and other members of the Workgroup have agreed to consider questions and think through critical issues, helping to design an integrated plan that best meets the needs of employers. The Employer Engagement Workgroup is scheduled to meet three times during the month of January.
AMS is very pleased to participate in helping California’s Prison to Employment Initiative succeed in its purpose of increasing job opportunities, employer awareness and hiring and retention of the reentry population.