Jails to Jobs offers its job search book free to prison and jail schools and reentry programs nationwide

Over the past two years, Jails to Jobs has given a free copy of its book, Jails to Jobs: Seven Steps to Becoming Employed, to every jail library in California and to many libraries in prisons and jails across the country. And now it wants to offer a free copy to any prison or jail school or associated reentry program in the country that requests one.

According to many people we’ve heard from and reviews on Amazon, the book is a very helpful resource for those preparing to reenter society or who have already done so.

Jeff Riddick, a teacher at a California correctional facility, is one of those who finds it a good tool. In fact, he told us that when his prison first received the book, he read it every day and still uses it as his main job search reference. And that’s pretty impressive, considering the fact that he began teaching job search skills classes in the 1980s.

“There’s a lot of very useful information that, if applied, can lead you to success. I read it for a while every day. I’d pick a page and read it,” he says. “I keep it with me in the portfolio I carry around all day, and when a guy asks me a question, I pull it out.”

And why does Riddick like it? “It has a lot of positive up-to-date info, as much as a book can have. It’s small, condensed, and not intimidating. It’s a good primer and a good thing to go back to use as a reference,” he says. “The chapters are highlighted which makes it easy to find things. A higher functioning guy, who reads at an 8th or 9th grade level, can get a lot of use out of it. And others as well, with the simplicity of the boxes and the info in the appendices.”

“Every page provides some kind of tip that anyone can use. And to me that’s the most important thing.”

Who can get a free book and how they can get it

Because he has found our book so useful, we’ve decided to expand our giveaway program to more people like Riddick. These people can be teachers at schools within jails and prisons that include job search in their curriculum or plan to, or associated reentry service coordinators like Ken Bailor with Riverside (Calif.) ReEntry Services. They can also be librarians.

If you’re a prison or jail school teacher or reentry counselor offering job search curriculum and coaching, or plan to, or a jail or prison librarian anywhere in the U.S., feel free to contact us for a complimentary copy of Jails to Jobs: Seven Steps to Becoming Employed. We’ll also include a free PowerPoint presentation that will allow you to offer workshops based on the book.

We hope to place a complimentary copy of the book and PowerPoint presentation into as many jail and prison schools, reentry programs, and lending libraries as possible. And with 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons and 3,163 local jails, we clearly have our work cut out for us.

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Using Three Good Things technique can increase happiness, decrease depression and improve job search

three good thingsIf everything you have to do in life is overwhelming you and making you depressed, there’s a simple technique that you can employ. This technique has the power to increase your happiness and decrease depression. It can also offer a sense of sanity when your life appears to be falling apart.

It’s called Three Good Things and was developed by Martin Seligman, professor  of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and known as the father of positive psychology. He applied this technique to subjects in a research study in 2005, finding that using it had the same effect as Prozac in improving the subjects’ well being.

Basically at the end of the day you write down three good things that happened to you that day and reflect on those three things.

The reason why it works, according to Seligman, is that “it changes your focus from what goes wrong in your life to what goes well.” In his experiment Seligman showed that you can go from 15 on the happiness scale to 50, just from doing this exercise for a week. And even if you stop, the resulting improved attitude can last for weeks or even months.

According to J. Bryan Sexton, professor of psychology at Duke University, noticing the positive things short circuits our natural tendency to concentrate on the negative. We tend to focus on the negative as a sort of a biological survival method. When something bad happens that can endanger us, we want to remember it so it doesn’t happen again. Not so for the good things. They tend to get lost and forgotten.

One of the best things this exercise can do is improve your sleep. That’s why you should do it within two hours of bedtime, but the closer the better. Having positive thoughts about your day will help you sleep better and deeper, and if you wake up in the middle of the night, you will be able to go back to sleep faster and easier, according to Sexton.

Here’s how to do it:

Sit down with a notebook or just a pen and paper – or you could do it on the computer as well – and write down three good things that happened to you that day. You should give the event a title and write down as many details as possible. What happened, where it happened, how it made you feel, and most importantly, your role in making the good thing come about.

Here are a few examples:

I reached a hiring manager.

After calling 35 of the 50 companies on my list, I finally reached a hiring manager. I gave her my elevator pitch and asked if I could send her my resume. I was so happy after all of the negative replies I had received I finally had a conversation. She wanted my resume, which I also sent in.

I called an old friend.

I called an old friend who is working in a job similar to what I would like to do and invited him to meet me for coffee next week. It made me feel good, because I haven’t been calling many of my contacts lately, but I know that’s the way to network and ultimately find a job.

I chatted with my next door neighbor.

I saw my next door neighbor Rosa today and stopped to talk to her. She’s nearly 80, and I know she’s lonely, since she has no family nearby. I love to hear her stories, though, and talking to her always makes me happy.

Keep a Three Good Things journal for at least a week – two is better. Although it might be difficult at first, this exercise will train your mind to highlight the positive things that happen in your life. Remembering them might push some of the negative thoughts to the far corner of your brain.

It’s not only a good habit to develop, but you should be much happier as a result.

 

Flipping cars can provide a little extra cash or become a viable business

flipping cars

Although Lehmann specialized in Volkswagens, any car that sells well in the area where one lives will do.

Buying and selling cars can be a way to score some extra cash every once in a while. It can also become a lucrative business if you qualify for licensing.

Most states have laws preventing residents from selling more than a certain number of cars per year. And that number usually tends to be rather low – under five vehicles. To sell more than that may require an automobile dealer’s license. And many states deny these licenses to people with felony convictions for some, but usually not all, crimes.

Although it may provide challenges, selling vehicles is still worth looking into, especially for those who love cars and trucks. If you just want to sell a handful, it’s not a problem. But for anything beyond that, you’ll have to check out the licensing requirements with your state’s DMV.

Higher priced cars usually mean higher profits

Many “how to sell cars” websites recommend buying and selling low-end cars, say those worth $1,000 to $4,000. You’ll take less financial risk selling at this price range, but you also may end up buying vehicles that need a fair amount of work before you can sell them, since they tend to be older models. You’ll also make less money than selling higher priced cars, which can offer greater markups and may be easier to fix up, especially if they are recent models with relatively low mileage.

One person who did this is Californian Charlie Lehmann. No, he doesn’t have a criminal record – or at least we don’t think he does – but his story still can be an inspiration to anyone considering doing something similar.

Lehmann began buying and selling a few Volkswagen diesel cars, and together with his son, built a successful business that netted $1.3 million in a year and a half.

That year and a half was 2004 to 2005, and Lehman was selling only Volkswagen diesel cars. He would fly all over the country – from Alaska to Florida – to purchase them and then drive them back to California.

“I would fly there, write a check, go to the bank, get the pink slip and drive back. In some cases, not a lot of cases, we’d actually wire transfer the money into the person’s account. In those days there was a big demand (in California) for the cars we were selling,” he says.

Craigslist, Auto Trader and cars.com are good places to buy vehicles

He found the cars on Craigslist, Auto Trader and cars.com and was soon selling so many – about 20 per month – that he had to recruit some of the retired members of a social club he’s active in to help him drive them back.

He also bought cars from car dealers who took vehicles that were not popular in their market in on trades. Auto auctions can be a good source as well.

Because he specialized in Volkswagen diesel cars, Lehmann got to know them very well. “It was very important for us (to specialize). It kept us focused. We knew the cars, and we were not buyers and sellers of automobiles (in general). We were limited in our knowledge space.”

Although specializing is important to get a knowledge edge, the most important thing, as far as the cars were concerned, was that they looked like new.

“I’d drive the car back. My wife would have it serviced. If the window had a pit, we’d take it in and have a new windshield put in. The car needed to look like new. If it had a ding in the door, we’d get the ding guy. They’d come out for less than a hundred bucks and get rid of the dings,” he says.

“As long as the margin was there, we’d buy them. Basically we wanted the newer cars within 1-1/2 to 3 years old, because after three years the price is substantially reduced.” They netted $4,000 on average for each of the approximately 300-plus cars they sold.

Although Lehman specialized in Volkswagen diesel cars, this business model can work with virtually any price range and type of car as long as you know what the value is and if there is a market for the car where you plan to sell it.

Because of the quality of the Volkswagens they bought, Lehmann and his crew never had a breakdown driving them back to California. There were three accidents involving animals – rabbits and a porcupine – however.

Tips for those new to buying and selling cars

Advice from Lehmann and others for people starting out:

  • Specialize in a certain make of car. You’ll learn to know it well.
  • You don’t need much money, except to buy your first car.
  • Have a passion for whatever car you choose to specialize in. Without a passion, you can’t sell them, and ultimately selling is everything.
  • Buy cars with the lowest mileage you can get.
  • Make sure they look good, but it doesn’t cost that much money to fix them up cosmetically. You can do most of the cleanup work yourself, although you may want to take it to a detailer and will definitely want to replace a cracked windshield or have a professional take out the dings.
  • Plan to get a dealer’s license – or work with someone who can get one – if you’re going to sell more than the number of cars legally allowed in your state.

So, if you think this might possibly be the business for you, do your research and follow the tips in this and other articles, as well as YouTube videos you find online. Here are a few examples:

AxleAddict

wikiHow to Buy and Sell Cars for Profit

Earn $500+ This Weekend: An Intro to Flipping Cars

Business idea for nonprofit reentry organization

This concept could also make a great business for an organization that works with people in reentry, according to Lehman. An organization could employ well suited clients to learn to buy and sell cars as a business under the guidance of an experienced manager. A car dealership might even be interested in becoming a partner in supporting such an idea by helping to share the costs and providing other resources. With a big smile and lots of enthusiasm Lehmann said, “These numbers are real and scalable, and the business is a nice opportunity for learning and profits.”

 

Inability to obtain occupational licensing helps prevent ex-offenders from getting jobs

Occupational licensing

A barber license is just one type of license denied to those with a criminal record by some states.

As if those leaving prison and jails don’t have enough problems finding employment, there’s one more challenge they face. An estimated total of at least one-quarter of all U.S. jobs require some type of licensing. And people with criminal records are prohibited from obtaining many of these licenses.

Not only can they not work in a vast variety of positions that require licensing, but those who have a criminal record can’t start their own businesses in the restricted occupations. And in many cases, it doesn’t even matter if the crime committed has any relevance to the type of work for which the license is required.

Occupational licensing is determined at the state level, and an estimated 32,000 laws nationwide related to occupational and business licensing include a consideration of criminal records. These laws are listed in the National Bar Association National Inventory of Collateral Causes of Conviction.

The inventory is catalogued and searchable by state, offering a list of all the applicable laws and exactly what they prohibit. It’s an excellent source for those who would like to know if they can – or cannot – pursue licensing for a particular job in a particular state.

The number and scope of the laws provide a serious impediment to those with criminal records and those in reentry trying to get back on their feet. They’re also a detriment to society, with states spending millions of dollars to pay for the cost of re-incarceration.

States with heaviest licensing burdens show highest recidivism rates

Turning Shackles into Bootstraps: Why Occupational Licensing Reform Is the Missing Piece of Criminal Justice Reform, a study done by Stephen Slivinski, senior research fellow at the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty, W.P. Carey College of Business, Arizona State University, focused on the relationship between three-year recidivism rates and occupational licensing restrictions affecting those with criminal records.

The study’s research “estimates that between 1997 and 2007 the states with the heaviest occupational licensing burdens saw an average increase in the three-year, new-crime recidivism rate of over 9%. Conversely, the states that had the lowest burdens and no such character provisions saw an average decline in that recidivism rate of nearly 2.5%.”

State laws reform licensing restrictions

Although the problem remains, several states are taking action to reform licensing laws to give those with criminal records more opportunities.

For example, last year Illinois passed HB5973 that, according to the bill, “allows the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to consider an applicant’s prior conviction or convictions, but provides that the conviction or convictions may not be the sole basis for refusing to issue a license unless the crime substantially and directly relates to the occupation for which the license is sought.”

In April, the governor of Kentucky signed SB120 into law. The bill removes automatic bans for felons seeking professional/occupational licenses and guarantees that those who are refused a license be granted a hearing.

Connecticut, another state making legal reforms, passed HB5764 into law in July. The new law removes criminal history restrictions from the licensing of barbers and hair dressers.

While these are just a few examples, they give an idea of what can and needs to be done by the states on a much broader level. Stakeholders who deal with those incarcerated and in reentry may want to organize and influence elected officials to change any existing laws requiring licenses that create barriers to employment.

By lifting restrictions to licensing for those with criminal records, those struggling to reestablish their lives after leaving prison or jail will have more opportunities to find employment and more jobs to choose from.

 

References may be key to helping ex-offenders find a job

job referencesWhen you’re in reentry and looking for a job, you’ll need all the help you can get. And that means finding people who can speak about your talents, skills and character to a potential employer.

Along with your resume or JIST card and turnaround packet, don’t forget a list of references.

It’s no longer appropriate to just include “references available upon request” at the bottom of your resume. Instead you should compile a professional looking list of several people who are happy to sing your praises. Pick people who have known you for at least three months, but the longer the better.

These references can be a boss you worked for, a supervisor at a volunteer gig (all the more reason to volunteer) or, if you haven’t had a job for a while, you can use a personal reference that knows you well. For a personal reference, you might choose a teacher, coach, mentor, spiritual leader, counselor or even the job developer you’re working with.

Before you include them on your list, however, check to see if it’s OK and ask them the best way for potential employers to contact them. Make sure you get all the relevant info: the person’s name and title, name of the company or organization and its address. Also ask for the reference’s work phone number (or mobile phone if it’s a personal reference) and an email address.

Include a sentence or two on how the reference knows you and maybe some specific information they might be able to share about you.

Find a job reference template online

There are many templates online, but we particularly like the one on the Damn Good Resume Guide website. Another good example can be found on the Career Nook website.

Make sure your references have your latest resume or JIST card, so they’ll be up to date on your experience. Also contact them when you go on a job interview, preferably before, in case the hiring manager calls them soon after the interview is over. Let your references know what type of job you’re applying for and where, just as a heads up in case they do get a call.

Have your reference call the hiring manager

Another effective, usually overlooked, tactic is to have your reference call the hiring manager, preferably before the interview. This can demonstrate initiative on your part and a sincere interest in being offered a job. Your reference could say something like, “I understand that (your name) is coming in for an interview tomorrow (or whenever), and I’d like to highly recommend him. He worked for me on a bathroom remodel, and he’s an excellent carpenter, hard worker and reliable. I highly recommend him.”

Of course what the reference says would be tailored to you and the job you’re applying for, but this can be very effective.

Finding a good reference or two who can vouch for your abilities might just be the extra thing that will inspire someone to hire you.

 

Knife Skills film highlights previously incarcerated employees at Edwins restaurant in Cleveland

Knife Skills

Employees at Edwins in Cleveland, Ohio, are profiled in Thomas Lennon’s new film, Knife Skills.

Restaurants are among the biggest employers of people in reentry. But what’s it really like for those leaving jail or prison to work in one of them? How do formerly incarcerated workers adjust to their new lives and responsibilities?

Academy Award winning filmmaker Thomas Lennon takes us into their world in his new film, Knife Skills, an inside look at the creation and opening of Edwins, an upscale French restaurant in Cleveland. Its name stands for “education wins,” and its staff is made up almost entirely of previously incarcerated individuals. They are trained at the Edwins Leadership & Training Institute, which has graduated about 180 students in its three-plus years of existence.

But back to the beginning where the 40-minute documentary opens with the training of the original restaurant staff members. Lennon shows the intense determination of these workers as they learn how to cook and serve the 25 dishes on the menu in a few weeks. There was so much to absorb, since some of them had absolutely no cooking or serving experience at all. But Gilbert, the French head chef, was up to the challenge. Among other practical knowledge, the students needed to become well versed in French culinary terms and the world of wine.

During 45 days spent filming in Cleveland over a three-and-a-half-year period, Lennon was able to get to know a few of the personalities who make Edwins the special place that it is. And he introduces them to the viewers. There’s Dorian, who received 11 years for drug trafficking; Mike, nine years for heroin and aggravated robbery; and Alan, four years for drug trafficking and robbery, among others profiled.

When he decided to do the film, Lennon had no experience with people who had been imprisoned. The idea for the film was totally serendipitous. He was having dinner with a friend who’s a chef. Another guest announced that he was going to establish a restaurant in Cleveland that would be the best French restaurant in the U.S. And it would be staffed entirely by previously incarcerated individuals. Lennon thought it would make a good subject for a documentary and decided to take it on.

Not an easy film to make

It wasn’t an easy film to make, however. Brandon Chrostowski, Edwins founder, president and CEO, had turned down a number of producers who wanted to do reality TV programs. “He made an exception with me but was very cautious and ferociously protective of the people in his training program,” Lennon says.

Another reason why it was difficult to make is that it’s, as Lennon calls it, an ensemble piece. “There’s no one person who’s the central story of the film. It jumps from one person to the next,” he says. “I had to develop each of these characters and at the same time develop the story as a whole. I felt very passionately that the film should not be very long. The goal was to make it as short as I possibly could and still convey the message. Making it as short as possible and telling everyone’s story took a long time.”

He also had challenges raising funding but eventually was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship from the Open Society Foundations.

From Lennon’s point of view, the effort was worth it. He says he gained insight into a subject he was totally unfamiliar with.

“I wasn’t well read at all in the field. I just went in and captured what went on in front of the camera,” Lennon says, At first, he thought that the second chance (in the form of a job) that Edwins was offering was all the employees needed. Lennon discovered that he was wrong, however, when one after the other ran into real difficulties.

“This is a very vulnerable population with any number of risk factors, like PTSD or addiction. It’s a population that needs our respect and support. The film is about the human face of reentry. I wanted other people to meet these folks and care,” he says.

During the time he got to know the employees, Lennon was impressed by their resolve to step up and deal with the challenges they faced.

“Everybody had something that they were trying to prove, and the stakes are enormous,” he says. “In many cases I felt that there was some flaw they were trying to fix, and they didn’t want that flaw to come back. They wanted to repair something within themselves. I felt extremely privileged to be there and be inside those experiences.”

And he made friends with many of the people he filmed.

Film festival appearances

Knife Skills has been shown at a variety of film festivals, including the 2017 Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival and Ohio’s Chagrin Documentary Film Festival. Upcoming appearances are scheduled at film festivals in Hot Springs, Ark., Woodstock, N.Y., Wilmington, N.C., and Napa Valley, Calif.

At the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, Knife Skills was the opening film, which Lennon says is very unusual for a short documentary.

“We’d scheduled two screenings of Knife Skills. There was so much enthusiasm, we added a third, then a fourth screening. In the end, we held six screenings of the film!  In all my years running this festival, I’ve never seen that before,” says Mary Ann Quinn Ponce, director of the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival

After the film festival circuit, Lennon hopes the film will appear on Netflix, PBS or other channels. He would also like Knife Skills to be shown to people who are about to be released or were recently released from prison or jail. Any organizations that would be interested in doing so can contact him at knifeskillsthemovie@gmail.com.

 

From the editor: We suggest that restaurant recruiting managers looking to hire those previously incarcerated contact transitional housing and rehab facilities, as well as reentry organizations. These can all make good community partners for sourcing people in reentry who are likely to make good employees. In addition to finding these facilities and organizations  by searching the Internet, you can also check with your local American Job Center, which should be able to offer referrals.

For those in reentry, check with your local American Job Center for any restaurant paid internship training programs. Feel free to share this article and refer to Edwins. Craigslist and directly visiting successful restaurants — a best way to hunt — are both great ways to look for positions in the kitchen, or as a busser, dishwasher, bartender or server. Aim for a successful interview and get your foot in the door. Work hard, offer your best attitude, prove yourself and advance.

SBA Small Business Learning Center provides resources for starting a small business

SBA Small Business Learning CenterWhile working for oneself may provide viable employment for those in reentry, there are a lot of things to learn in order to successfully do so.

And an excellent way to come up to speed on the various aspects of establishing a small business is through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s SBA Small Business Learning Center.

On the center’s website, you will find an online classroom that provides access to advice and guidance that will help you get started in your efforts. And, once your business is established, there’s information on how to help it grow.

The material is presented in a series of short – mainly 30-minute – online courses on subjects that include:

  • Understanding your customer
  • Buying a business
  • Creating a competitive advantage
  • Customer service
  • Cybersecurity for small businesses
  • Establishing values for your business
  • Financing options for small businesses
  • Finding and attracting investors
  • How to prepare a loan package
  • How to write a business plan
  • Introduction to crowdfunding for entrepreneurs
  • Social media marketing

In order to take any of the courses, you just have to click on the icon next to the course description, fill out a registration form, and you’re ready to go.

Need more help?

The site also includes a Local Assistance interactive map where you can search for the nearest Small Business Administration District Office and other organizations that provide training, mentoring and counseling to those who want to start their own businesses. Many services are free of charge. Others have reasonable fees.

If you’ve done the research and decided that starting a small business is what you’d like to do, there’s a Business Plan Tool that provides a step-by-step process to help you put one together.

Then you might want to contact SCORE, a nonprofit organization that pairs people who want to start small businesses with one of its 10,000 volunteer mentors who have experience to share.

 

MIT Living Wage Calculator can help determine how much money you will need for life in various U.S. cities

living wageIf you’re leaving prison and haven’t been in the workforce for a while, if ever, you might want to turn to the Living Wage Calculator, created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

It can help you find the answers to a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself as you look for a job:

  • How much money do I estimate it will take to live a basic life?
  • What is the hourly wage I will need to make in the area where I plan to be living?

This information is important to know to make sure you’ll make enough money to live a basic life and/or to consider what type of work to prepare for. Certainly the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour may not be enough.

Even life in cities like San Francisco – which raised its minimum wage to $13 per hour on July 1, 2016, and will raise it again to $14 per hour on July 1, 2017 – can be a struggle for those in jobs that don’t pay more than that.

The minimum wage may not be enough to live on

In many – or most – cases the minimum wage – even that of the few states and cities that have decent ones – won’t meet the needs of most people, so it’s a number you may want to ignore.

Calculating the living wage, however, is very useful. It will let you know the amount of money you need to survive in a specific area of the country. The living wage is the minimum amount of money that people require to meet their basic needs. And the MIT Living Wage Calculator is a very useful online tool that can be utilized to calculate that number.

The Living Wage Calculator determines the living wage for 13 situations ranging from 1 working adult to 2 adults (1 working) and 2 adults with 3 children.

It also includes a list of typical expenses: food, childcare, medical, housing and transportation, as well as the required annual income before taxes, so people will know how much they will need to earn.

For example, a single working adult in Alameda County, Calif., which includes Oakland and Berkeley, will need a required annual income before taxes of $33,116. In St. Louis that figure is $21,702, and in Atlanta it’s $24,988.

A third chart for each location lists the typical annual salaries for a wide variety of jobs in that area.

The website is searchable by state and then county. Using this calculator, along with the other resources you discover as you look for employment, will help you ensure that you get a job that is not only something you find acceptable but will also pay the expenses necessary for a basic lifestyle for wherever you will be living.

 

ACLU report lauds benefits of hiring ex-offenders

hiring ex-offendersYet another study confirms the advantages to companies of hiring previously incarcerated individuals.

The recently released report, Back to Business: How Hiring Formerly Incarcerated Job Seekers Benefits Your Company, was prepared by the Trone Private Sector and Education Advisory Council for the American Civil Liberties Union.

According to the report, the problem of joblessness among those who have spent time in prison or jail is immense and needs to be solved. More than 640,000 people are released from prison each year, and nearly 75 percent of previously incarcerated individuals remain unemployed a year after they’re released. And “joblessness is the single most important predictor of recidivism.”

This lack of employment by those who have been incarcerated has a dramatic effect on our national economy, reducing the U.S. gross national product by between $78 and $87 billion in a single year.

The report states that:

“Research by economists confirms that hiring people with records is simply smart business. Retention rates are higher, turnover is lower, and employees with criminal records are more loyal. Given the costs associated with turnover and recruitment, researchers have found that “employees with a criminal background are in fact a better pool for employers.”

The report includes case studies of several companies and what they have done to achieve fair chance hiring.

Company case studies highlighted in the report

­­­

Walmart – A case study of Walmart points out that the company has removed “the box” from its application forms and only runs a background check after a potential hire is given a conditional offer. The hiring manager and HR members are only aware of whether the applicant has been cleared for hiring and are not informed of the nature of their conviction(s).

Total Wine & More — Total Wine & More, with 127 superstores in 20 states, found that employees with criminal records had a 12 percent lower annual first-year turnover rate than those without. For cashiers it was 14 percent, merchandising employees 11 percent and wine assistants 11 percent.

eWaste Tech Systems — Richmond Va.-based eWaste Tech Systems created a comprehensive training program for the nearly 50 percent of its employees who have a criminal record. It also works with local workforce development center ResCare to provide services that these employees may need in their reentry efforts.

After showing what various companies have achieved, the report provides steps that others can take t0 create and maintain fair chance hiring:

  • Ban the box on job application forms and postpone asking applicants about their criminal history until further into the hiring process.
  • Consider each employee on a case-by-case basis, evaluating the nature of their crime and whether it’s related to the type of work they will be doing, as well as considering whatever rehabilitation efforts they have accomplished.
  • Conduct a proper background check by asking for only those convictions relevant to the job applied for. Choose a reputable agency, one certified by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), if possible. (The report includes a list of questions to ask an agency to ensure proper information is gathered.)
  • Make sure to comply with all state and federal laws and regulations, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and various state and local Ban the Box statutes that may apply to your area.
  • Be proactive in reaching out to qualified job seekers who might have criminal records.
  • Create a process for dealing with applicants who have criminal records, and train hiring managers in this process.

Follow these steps and join a growing list of employers – more than 300 signed the Obama White House Fair Chance Hiring Pledge in 2016 – who are improving staff retention rates, and ultimately their bottom line, by hiring formerly incarcerated individuals.

Donate your used tattoo removal laser device to Jails to Jobs

used tattoo removal laser deviceAre you a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, hospital, tattoo artist or anyone else who provides tattoo removal treatments? Are you planning to replace your tattoo removal laser device with a newer model?

If so, consider donating your device to Jails to Jobs.

We help community-based organizations acquire laser devices so they may establish or expand a program to provide free or low-cost tattoo removal services to those with visible gang-related, hate or anti-social tattoos or victims of human trafficking who have been tattooed against their will. There are many organizations out there that would like to do this but can’t afford the price of a tattoo removal laser device.

And that’s where you could come in. By donating your device to Jails to Jobs, you will receive a tax deduction.

You will also have the satisfaction of being involved in something that can have a tremendous impact on the lives of others and on a community. Outside In, a Portland, Ore., program that provides health and social services for homeless and other marginalized youth, for example, was able to start its very successful tattoo removal program with a single donated laser device.

What’s acceptable

Any tattoo removal laser device in working condition. Older models are fine if they have been properly maintained.

Your donation will be tax-deductible

Jails to Jobs is a 501(C)3 public charity, and donations are tax deductible. (Nonprofit hospitals may be able to use a donation to help meet their community benefits requirement). We supply donors with a letter that includes the details of the equipment donated and our IRS tax I.D. We don’t include the value of your donation. You must work with your accountant to establish how much it is worth, but we can refer you to a few websites for used equipment – dotmed.com, www.synergymedsales.com and thelaseragent.com – and related companies to help in establishing a fair market value.

If you’d like to be involved in helping those with visible gang-related, anti-social or hate tattoos – or victims of human trafficking with tattoos that remind them of their unhappy past – get them removed, please contact us. You will be instrumental in assisting motivated individuals as they begin to turn their lives around, find employment and become contributing members of society.