National Reentry Week hosts events around the nation

reentry

Attorney General Loretta Lynch

For those of you who don’t already know it, this week – April 24-30 – is the first ever National Reentry Week.

The designation was established by the U.S. Department of Justice, which says that the week is part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to make the U.S. criminal justice system fairer, more efficient and more effective at reducing recidivism.

“Too often, justice-involved individuals who have paid their debt to society confront daunting obstacles to good jobs, decent housing, adequate health care, quality education, and even the right to vote,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.

“National Reentry Week highlights the many ways that the Department of Justice – and the entire Obama Administration – is working to tear down the barriers that stand between returning citizens and a meaningful second chance – leading to brighter futures, stronger communities, and a more just and equal nation for all.”

Lynch, along with U.S. Department. of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, will travel to Philadelphia on Monday, April 25, to hold events with public housing advocates, legal services providers and community leaders. Later in the week she will visit a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility in Talladega, Ala., to highlight reentry programs in prison.

Reentry events in all 50 states and elsewhere

Other events are taking place in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. Attorney’s Offices alone are hosting more than 200 events, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons more than 370 events.

Among the events organized by the White House and the Department of Justice:

  • On Monday, April 25, the White House will hold an event with the Brennan Center on the costs of incarceration.
  • On Monday, April 25, Director Lisa Foster of the Office for Access Justice will hold a joint event in Los Angeles with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to announce new efforts to improve outcomes for justice-involved youth. She will also attend a Conviction and Sentence Alternatives (CASA) Program Graduation Ceremony in Los Angeles.
  • On Tuesday, April 26, Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason of the Office of Justice Programs will attend a girls mentoring event at a local detention facility. The event is sponsored by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
  • On Tuesday, April 26, Second Chance Fellow Daryl Atkinson of the Office of Justice Programs will deliver remarks at a reentry simulation in Birmingham sponsored by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama.
  • On Wednesday, April 27, the White House will host the Fair Chance Opportunities Champions of Change event in South Court Auditorium. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch will deliver remarks and Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates will moderate a panel at the event.
  • On Thursday, April 28, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division will deliver remarks at a reentry event at Mickey Leland Transitional Housing Facility, sponsored by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
  • On Friday, April 29, Principal Deputy Director Bea Hanson of the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women will visit a federal women’s prison in West Virginia.
  • On Friday, April 29, the United States Department of Labor will host a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Federal Bonding Program. Deputy  Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates will deliver remarks at the event.

 

Jails to Jobs is searching for ideas for this blog. If you know of a company that is hiring ex-offenders, or if you have unique job search tips that could assist ex-offenders in finding employment or are aware of organizations or agencies doing exceptional things that benefit ex-offenders in their job search efforts, we'd love to hear from you.

Laser device company assists free and low cost tattoo removal efforts

laser deviceLaser device companies can play a leading role in the effort to help formerly incarcerated individuals remove their gang-related and antisocial tattoos.

To find out how they can do that, just ask Nick Bergman, director of QuantaCares at Quanta Aesthetic Lasers, a company that, through its QuantaCares program, gives practitioners who perform free or low-cost tattoo removals a break in the price of their devices.

“We have found that there is a tremendous need for tattoo removal for those transitioning from jails to productive society. There is good data that supports the idea that a reduction in visible tattoos supports a reduction in recidivism. Because of that, we offer incentives to those willing to help,” Bergman says.

“Without getting into exact numbers, we offer sizable discounts for individuals who want to make a difference with this population. This can include, but isn’t limited to, removing antisocial or gang-related tattoos. There are also sex trafficking victims who have been tattooed or branded. Laser tattoo removal has helped these victims, and this is the foundation of QuantaCares.”

Laser device company creates Quanta Cares initiative

After helping numerous individuals in the past, including Dawn Maestas, on an ad hoc basis, Quanta Aesthetic Lasers has formalized its efforts into the QuantaCares initiative.

This initiative supports potential customers who are willing to commit to doing a small amount of pro bono work – typically two cases per month. These partners then send before and after pictures along with a brief background story after the treatment is completed.

laser device

The idea for QuantaCares came from Nick Bergman, who now directs the program.

The idea for QuantaCares came from Bergman, who was involved in the corrections industry in a previous job.

“That job required me to visit numerous correctional facilities in the U.S. and Canada, where I discovered there are alarmingly high rates of incarceration and recidivism by any measure,” says Bergman. “A few years later, I transitioned to Quanta. I had read a few stories about how much tattoo removal had changed the lives of formerly incarcerated individuals. With QuantaCares, we can make a measurable difference in the lives of others.”

Another part of the company’s QuantaCares efforts concerns pre-release tattoo removal programs.

“We are in the process of developing a curriculum to share with correctional institutions,” Bergman says.

Creating pre-release programs

“We’d like to not only provide facilities with the tools needed to remove tattoos, but give inmates the desire to have employment-hindering tattoos removed. Statistics show that inmates who reoffend, if they have visible tattoos, reoffend more quickly. If we can help people understand the value in removing ink from their hands and face, I believe that it can only help the success of this program,” Bergman adds.

Bergman believes that laser device companies should be committed to playing an important social role.

“In my opinion, laser companies have a tremendous responsibility to make efforts that their devices are being used responsibly not only from a liability standpoint, but from a social standpoint as well,” he says.

“That said, we can only do so much. When push comes to shove, it is those who are operating the lasers who are making the true difference and we are doing our best to support them.”

How to become a QuantaCares program member

If you are interested in being among those supported and are truly committed to helping others, you can apply to become a member of the QuantaCares program by emailing Bergman at nbergman@quantausa.com. You will receive an application that asks for basic information, as well as your business plan and motivation for getting involved.

By becoming part of the QuantaCares program, you too will be able to make a difference in the lives of others.

 

 

Jails to Jobs is searching for ideas for this blog. If you know of a company that is hiring ex-offenders, or if you have unique job search tips that could assist ex-offenders in finding employment or are aware of organizations or agencies doing exceptional things that benefit ex-offenders in their job search efforts, we'd love to hear from you.

Don’t forget to write job interview thank you notes

thank you noteIn conducting a job search, you always need to keep in mind ways to set yourself apart from other applicants. And one of those ways is to write a thank you note.

Be sure to do this after every job interview, but also after after an informational interview or job shadowing experience. If you’re proactive, as we recommend, and drop by restaurants, retail shops or businesses unannounced to talk to the hiring manager about potential job opportunities, be sure to follow up by sending a thank you note to that person as well.

While many people don’t bother to send these notes, it’s very important to do so.

In a survey of 2,878 hiring managers conducted in 2011 by Harris International for CareerBuilder, more than one in five (22%) said they are less likely to hire a candidate who doesn’t send a thank you note after the interview. The reasons stated: It shows a lack of follow through and sends a message that the candidate is not really serious about the opportunity.

Although the survey was conducted nearly five years ago, it still rings true. Hiring managers like to be thanked.

While it used to be said that hand-written notes were the preferred method to thank people, these days email thank you notes are also appropriate. Some people send an email note within 24 hours of the interview and follow up with a hand-written note that emphasizes other details.

Either way, the medium may not be as important as the message.

What to include in a thank you note

Be sure to keep the thank you note to a few paragraphs, and use it strategically to:

  • Bring up a point or two that you didn’t remember to mention in the interview.
  • Briefly elaborate on a question the interviewer asked but you feel you didn’t answer well.
  • Clarify anything that you think might have been misunderstood.
  • Show that you are really interested in the position (or the field, if it’s an informational interview).

If you’re not sure how to write one, there are plenty of examples of interview thank you notes online. Just search using the term “interview thank you notes,” and they will come up. Read a few examples and write an original note of your own.

Creating a habit of writing follow-up thank you notes will be just one more way to help ensure your job search is successful.

 

Jails to Jobs is searching for ideas for this blog. If you know of a company that is hiring ex-offenders, or if you have unique job search tips that could assist ex-offenders in finding employment or are aware of organizations or agencies doing exceptional things that benefit ex-offenders in their job search efforts, we'd love to hear from you.

Use job shadowing technique to explore opportunities firsthand

job shadowingJob shadowing goes a step beyond informational interviewing and can give you even better insight into a particular field or job. It is also a bit trickier to set up, however, and is not for everyone.

To job shadow means that you spend several hours, a day or even longer, “shadowing” a particular employee as they do their work. This technique can be particularly good if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, because it gives you a chance to explore various jobs and how they’re carried out on a day-to-day basis.

Job shadowing also can be beneficial for those who have a pretty good idea of what type of work they would enjoy, based on their knowledge and skills. For example, you know a lot about hand tools and are thinking about becoming a carpenter’s assistant. Find a carpenter, and ask if you could “shadow” them for a day. You would go to their job site and watch what they do, maybe help out a bit in the process.

How to create a job shadowing opportunity

In order to job shadow you need the cooperation of the person you want to shadow, plus sometimes the permission of the company where that person works. Although this tactic takes time and effort to set up, it will provide a firsthand experience of what a certain type of job entails. And it will give you a new contact or two of people who are working in a field you might like to pursue.

To get the most out of the experience, treat it similarly to an informational interview. Make a list of questions to ask, and as you follow the person through the day observe exactly what they do, what type of tools and equipment they use, and how they interact with co-workers and clients (if they have them).

Also try to talk to the person’s coworkers, who may be doing slightly different jobs and can give you even further insight into the field.

If you can afford it, offer to take the person you are shadowing out to lunch. It’s a small price to pay for the time and attention they are giving you.

When you’re actually applying for work at a later date, you could come back to them to see if they have any jobs and mention some of the things you observed during your job shadowing experience. You may also see something you could improve in their operations, a problem that could be solved or a need that you might be able to fulfill.

Don’t forget a thank you note

After the experience is over, don’t forget to send a thank you note. Although an email note is OK, a hand written card will make a better impression.

While job shadowing may offer an unparalleled opportunity to gain inside knowledge and information about a particular career and/or company, perhaps the best thing it can do is increase your network of contacts and offer one more person who hopefully will be happy to help you on your pathway to employment.

And while you’re busy setting up job shadowing opportunities, you might want to use some of your free time to take a look at the jobshadow.com website, which includes interviews with everyone from a fast food restaurant manager and roofer to a firefighter and fly fishing guide.

 

Jails to Jobs is searching for ideas for this blog. If you know of a company that is hiring ex-offenders, or if you have unique job search tips that could assist ex-offenders in finding employment or are aware of organizations or agencies doing exceptional things that benefit ex-offenders in their job search efforts, we'd love to hear from you.

Informational interviews can prove effective in job search

Informational interviewsLooking for a job and want to learn more about a specific field and the people who work in it? There are few better ways to do this than by conducting informational interviews.

In an informational interview, instead of an employer interviewing you, you will interview them. And it gives you a chance to talk to potential hiring managers – or even regular workers.

It’s surprising how few people use informational interviewing, but they should, because it works. Randall S. Hansen, former Stetson University marketing professor and founder of the Quintessential Careers website, says that while only one in 200 resumes results in a job offer, one in 12 informational interviews results in an offer.

Many people are happy to participate in informational interviews, because they like to share information about what they do. A face-to-face meeting is the best kind of informational interview, but if people say they don’t have time, see if you can ask them a few questions on the phone.

How to conduct informational interviews

To set up an informational interview, you need to do the same sort of research you would do if you were trying to find potential employers. Choose a few companies to target, and find out the names of the hiring managers of the departments you’re interested in.

Call them up, tell them you want to do an informational interview and schedule a time. These may take place at the person’s office, or better yet, invite them out for coffee. the $4 or $5 it would cost is an excellent investment, and they often pick up the tab anyway.

You can also use friends to create contacts for informational interviews. If you know someone who does the kind of work you want to do, ask them who in their company might be a good person to talk to. When you call that person, you can say, “So-and-so suggested I call, and I’d like to get together for an informational interview to learn a little more about the type of work you do.”

Online forums can be another tool to help you in your job search. Indeed.com, for example, is not just a great job aggregating website, but it also has great tools. You can use it to identify trends and salaries and to get advice on its online forums, where people go to share knowledge. These forums appear to be very effective. If you ask a question on the forum, people tend to be very helpful in supplying information about working in a particular company or field.

Be aware that an informational interview is not a means of asking for a job. Rather it is a chance to pick someone’s brain and learn what it’s really like to work at a particular type of job. You may also seek advice on how to conduct a better job search or improve your resume.

It’s an opportunity to network and practice talking to people without the pressure of an official interview.

Some examples of questions to ask

Make sure you do some research on the person’s company and the field, if you don’t already know a lot about it. Also prepare a list of questions and take notes during the interview.

Here are a few examples of questions to get you started:

  • Why did you choose this particular field?
  • How did you get your first job in this field?
  • What excites you the most about this type of work?
  • What are the biggest challenges?
  • What is a typical day in your work like?
  • Why did you choose this company, and what do you like about working here?
  • What are the most important skills one would need to work in this field?
  • What is the best way to get experience for this type of job if one doesn’t already have it?
  • What kind of advice can you give to someone who is seeking employment in this field?
  • Is there anyone else you can recommend for me to talk to?

When you go for an informational interview, dress professionally (as you would for a job interview), and don’t forget to send a thank you note afterwards. Although an email thank you would be OK, you will make a much better impression if you send a hand written thank you card.

 

Jails to Jobs is searching for ideas for this blog. If you know of a company that is hiring ex-offenders, or if you have unique job search tips that could assist ex-offenders in finding employment or are aware of organizations or agencies doing exceptional things that benefit ex-offenders in their job search efforts, we'd love to hear from you.

Dave’s Killer Bread helps create second chance employers

Dave's Killer BreadHow does one become a second chance employer, and why aren’t more companies doing it? Maybe they don’t know how.

But there’s a new way to learn the ropes. One company that knows very well, Dave’s Killer Bread, has increased its efforts to encourage more employers to embrace second chance employment.

And the company is doing that through its Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation, the nonprofit arm that the Milwaukee, Ore.,-based organic bread maker launched early last year. The foundation is creating a variety of programs, including more Second Chance Summits and a Second Chance Playbook, as well as a Second Chance Network to be launched in the future.

The reason for the foundation?

“It’s the formalization of the work we’ve been doing as a company over the past decade in hiring people with criminal backgrounds,” says Genevieve Martin, the foundation’s director.

“What we learned in talking to our partners and nonprofits and government agencies is that there aren’t enough employers who will look at this part of the workforce, and we decided to be leaders in expanding employment opportunities for people with criminal backgrounds.” And the foundation is in the process of putting together more programs to do this.

First Second Chance Summit on East Coast

Although it has held two Second Chance Summits in Portland, the DKB Foundation will host its first 2016 Second Chance Summit East at The New School in New York City on May 24.

The day’s events will include a keynote address by Glenn Martin, founder and president of Just Leadership USA, and a panel of second chance employers who will address the topic of debunking myths. Food will be prepared by the Snow Day Food Truck operated by Drive Change.

The goal is to bring together like-minded employers who can work together to bring about change. “We didn’t want to confine ourselves to speaking only our story the Dave’s Killer bread way. Our way won’t work for everyone. The foundation is collaborative,” Martin says.

Playbook teaches companies how to be second chance employers

The Second Chance Playbook, which launched this month, is a collection of videos on a variety of topics educating companies on issues related to second chance employment. They’re each three to five minutes long, something that employers can watch during their lunch or coffee breaks, according to Martin.

The videos include interviews with subject matter experts, including h.r. professionals in organizations that hire people with criminal backgrounds, an insurance broker speaking about risk mitigation, and people talking about federal incentives that companies can take advantage of, EEOC compliance and background checks, among other subjects.

The Playbook has launched with 10 videos on the foundation’s website and is available to anyone free of charge. All one has to do is register.

Second Chance Network will bring employers together

Another initiative, the Second Chance Network, is coming soon and will have three layers.

“One will be second chance employers who are interested in mentoring other organizations and are fine in being a mouthpiece. They’re the true champions,” said Martin.

“Another layer is going to highlight re-entry hubs (around the nation) that can supply resources, and the third layer that we’re paying the most attention to is speaking with employers to encourage them to look at programs and staffing networks through which they can recruit from directly.”

The foundation, which gets funding from Dave’s Killer Bread company as well as private donors, is dedicated to being an agent of change.

“What’s most important for people to understand is that business has the power to affect true change right now. We don’t have to wait for legislation or nonprofits to get more funding,” says Martin. “A business can decide tomorrow that they will hire one person, and that will make a huge impact and ripple across the country.”

 

Jails to Jobs is searching for ideas for this blog. If you know of a company that is hiring ex-offenders, or if you have unique job search tips that could assist ex-offenders in finding employment or are aware of organizations or agencies doing exceptional things that benefit ex-offenders in their job search efforts, we'd love to hear from you.

Richard Bolles outlines What Color is Your Parachute’s key principles

Richard BollesOn his website Richard Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers, with 10 million copies sold, said that some career counselors who say they’re teaching the principles of his book are not.

In order to clarify those principles, Bolles lists the 25 key ideas of his book. And it’s worth repeating them, so that readers will have a better idea of how an effective job search can be done. Here they are in a nutshell:

  1. Sending out resumes is not the best way to find a job. In fact he says that only 1 out of 270 resumes actually results in a job.
  1. Google is the new resume. It is, because most employers use applicants’ names to search the web to see what they can discover about them. And that information may be very different than what people include in their resumes.
  1. The job-hunting system is broken. In fact there is no real job-hunting system, so many job openings are not filled effectively.
  1. There are more job vacancies than people think there are. Forget the federal government’s monthly unemployment report, says Bolles. That doesn’t tell the real story. Instead pay attention to the government’s Job Opportunities and Labor Turnover (JOLT) Monthly Report, which details the unfilled job vacancy numbers at the end of the previous month.
  1. Job hunters and employers search for each other in opposite ways.
  1. Best and worst ways to search for a job:
  • Best ways: Conducting a self inventory, joining a job club, searching for companies to target in the Yellow Pages (or whitepages.com), visiting potential employers (especially companies with 50 employees or fewer) and asking for job leads from all of your contacts.
  • Worst ways: Searching internet job postings, sending out resumes and going to government employment agencies.
  1. Conducting a self-inventory, in which you really discover what type of work you are suitable for and learn more about yourself, is more effective than researching the job-market.
  1. Tests like the Myers-Briggs are not an effective way to discover the job that might be right for you.
  1. It is not just skills that matter but the skills that you love to use the most. These show your passion.
  1. Rather than trying to shape yourself to “fit” a certain job, you should look for a job that will “fit” you.
  1. Look at a job hunt as a career change. Try breaking down past jobs into building blocks and rearranging them to create a similar job or an entirely new one.
  1. Answer what? where? and how? What are the skills you like to use, where would you like to use them and how do you discover the titles of jobs that use these skills. You must also determine the type of places that offer these jobs and the name of the hiring managers in those places.
  1. Using Bolles’ prioritizing grid offers job seekers a chance to prioritize such assets as skills, experience and knowledge.
  1. Avoid the human resources department if at all possible. Its work is to eliminate applicants. Contact the manager in the department you’re interested in working in instead.
  1. Make a list of the negative working conditions you’ve experienced in the past and pair them with their opposites. Rank these to find the type of conditions that will provide a suitable workplace.
  1. Conduct your own:
  • Interviews with people who share common interests with you to practice interviewing.
  • Informational interviewing to learn more about the type of work you might be interested in.
  • Interviewing for hire – the real deal in which you’re interviewing  employers to see if there might be a match between you and them.
  1. Contact any employer that interests you, even if they may not have any job openings.
  1. Small companies – those with less than 100 employees – are the best to approach.
  1. The best alternative to a resume is to get in touch with an employer directly – through a mutual contact if possible.
  1. There are only five things hiring managers are really concerned about when they interview you:
  • Why are you here?
  • What can you do for us?
  • What kind of person are you?
  • What distinguishes you from other applicants?
  • Can we afford to hire you?
  1. In an interview for hire, pay attention to the time and don’t talk more than half the time. Also limit answers to questions to no more than two minutes.
  1. If at the conclusion of the interview you decide that you’d like to work there, ask for the job.
  1. Always send a thank-you note to everyone you talked to during the interview.
  1. It’s all about the numbers. Every “no” you hear brings you closer to the eventual “yes.”
  1. Always have alternatives in terms of places to target and techniques to use.

 

Jails to Jobs is searching for ideas for this blog. If you know of a company that is hiring ex-offenders, or if you have unique job search tips that could assist ex-offenders in finding employment or are aware of organizations or agencies doing exceptional things that benefit ex-offenders in their job search efforts, we'd love to hear from you.

Philanthropic leaders challenge foundations to ban the box

ban the boxPhilanthropic leaders from 42 foundations announced late last month that they have banned the box, joining a decade-long movement that has spread to 21 states and more than 100 localities.

The foundations, all members and allies of the Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, have committed to adopting second-chance hiring policies or ensuring that questions about criminal convictions do not appear on their employment applications. The ultimate goal: to increase employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated job seekers in the philanthropic sector.

Foundations take action as employers to ban the box 

The Alliance, through its Ban the Box Philanthropy Challenge, invites other foundations to join them. Although foundations have funded “ban the box” efforts across the country, now for the first time they are being encouraged to take action as employers to help rectify the problems that formerly incarcerated job seekers face.

“It is time to end the pervasive discrimination against people with past criminal records. The era of mass incarceration and the war on drugs have done severe damage to families and communities, with an enormously disproportionate impact on people of color,” says Tim Silard, president of the Rosenberg Foundation “All employers can be leaders in ensuring that a prior conviction does not mean a lifetime of unemployment. Everyone deserves a second chance and the opportunity to compete for a job.”

This call to action follows positive developments in the private sector led by companies like Target, Starbucks and Facebook.

More than one-third of American adults have criminal records

The need to ban the box is urgent. More than 70 million – nearly one in three – American adults have arrest or conviction records that might appear in background checks, limiting their possibilities for employment.

In addition to issuing the challenge, the Alliance has commissioned the National Employment Law Project to develop a Model Fair Chance Hiring Policy and Toolkit for employers in the philanthropic sector.

Among actions foundations are being encouraged to take are:

  • To remove “the box” from employment applications.
  • Leave background checks till the end of the hiring process.
  • Integrate the U.S. EEOC’s (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines into hiring considerations.
  • Adopt strong standards of transparency and accuracy.

The actions of the philanthropic sector set an example for others to follow. It will be interesting to see how many others do.

 

Jails to Jobs is searching for ideas for this blog. If you know of a company that is hiring ex-offenders, or if you have unique job search tips that could assist ex-offenders in finding employment or are aware of organizations or agencies doing exceptional things that benefit ex-offenders in their job search efforts, we'd love to hear from you.

Tattoo artist Jeff Goyette helps others learn tattoo removal

Jeff Goyette, tattoo removal expert.

Jeff Goyette.

Getting anti-social or gang-related tattoos removed can be a first step on the road to employment. And many people appear interested in doing just that, based on the thousands of hits we’ve gotten on the directory of free and low cost tattoo removal programs that is on our website.

In compiling the listings for the website over the past several years, what we’ve discovered is that there aren’t nearly enough of these programs.. Although some states, mainly California, have many programs in all of its major cities, 11 states and the District of Columbia have none at all.

But as the word spreads about the need for this type of program, more people are stepping onboard. Rhode Island is the latest state to be listed in our directory, thanks to Jeff Goyette, a well known tattoo artist who owns Inflicting Ink Tattoo and Removal in Portsmouth, RI, and is a co-founder of and the head instructor at A Laser Academy, which offers courses in tattoo removal.

He’s been a tattoo artist for 25 years and early on developed an interest in tattoo removal as well.

“I ended up getting involved in the tattoo removal industry because so many people were wanting cover-ups,” he said. “We ended up getting to know so much about the tattoo removal process and purchased a laser for tattoo removal in 1998-99.”

“We found there was very little information about this and started looking into the pigments and whether the inks play a major role in why some tattoos were easier to remove than others.“

Goyette became so knowledgeable that he started to do training for customers of  laser device company Quanta USA, and four years ago he opened A Laser Academy in the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo., to train even more people. He also conducts classes at his Rhode Island studio and in Henderson, Nev., a suburb of Las Vegas.

The three-day course covers all aspects of the tattoo removal process, including laser safety, the proper techniques necessary to fire a medical class 4 laser, the types of ink used in tattoos, the proper use of wave lengths, how to perform a proper consultation and post-treatment care.

About 40% of the academy’s students is tattoo artists, 40% is young people looking for new opportunities for employment, and the other 20% is physicians assistants and doctors. Very few of them already have any previous experience with tattoo removal.

As part of his tattoo removal practice, Goyette offers low-priced removals.

“We do special pricing if people really need the help,” he says “We won’t help if someone has an ex girlfriend’s name they want taken off, but if they have Nazi symbols or gang-related tattoos, we’ll do it.”

Goyette once offered pre-release tattoo removal to inmates at a prison and is interested in possibly doing that again, provided he could get some funding to run the laser.

Helping tattoo artists, medical professionals, doctors, nonprofits and others launch free or low-cost tattoo removal programs, including those for pre-release inmates, is something that we at Jails to Jobs are also working on. Our soon-to-be-released Tattoo Removal: Establishing a Free or Low-Cost Community Based Program, A How-to Guide will give those interested the basics. And we hope to secure funding to help create more programs in prisons and elsewhere around the U.S.

If anyone would like more information about our Tattoo Removal: Establishing a Free or Low-Cost Community Based Program, A How-to Guide, please contact us. For those who are interested, it is available on Amazon.

 

Jails to Jobs is searching for ideas for this blog. If you know of a company that is hiring ex-offenders, or if you have unique job search tips that could assist ex-offenders in finding employment or are aware of organizations or agencies doing exceptional things that benefit ex-offenders in their job search efforts, we'd love to hear from you.

S.F.’s Cala restaurant gives second chance to those in reentry

second chance employer

Cala Restaurant, San Francisco

In San Francisco, a city of exceptional eateries, one recently opened restaurant stands apart – and not just for its amazing food but for the fact that it is a second chance employer, making a point of seeking out and hiring formerly incarcerated individuals.

That restaurant, Cala, is the latest and first U.S. venture for celebrity chef Gabriela Camara, who has four restaurants in her native Mexico. And although she wholeheartedly supports targeting this population for her employees, it was her general manager, Emma Rosenbush, who came up with the idea.

Before operating a pop-up restaurant in Mexico City, where she befriended Camara, Rosenbush studied sociology and criminal justice, and worked at the Prison Law Office in Berkeley, Calif. During her time there, she visited all of the California state prisons. And it was that experience which inspired her hiring practices when she got into the restaurant business.

A whole population who can’t get work

“When I had the opportunity to work with Gabriela there was a hiring crunch. No one can afford to live in the city (San Francisco) and work in the service industry, so it’s hard to find good people to work in restaurants,” she says. “And, at the same time, there’s a whole population of people who can’t get a job because they have a record.”

Rosenbush had decided several years earlier that if she ever had an opportunity to hire people with criminal records, she would. And now she has the chance to give them a second chance.

The restaurant opened late last September, and she started the hiring process in the summer by reaching out to former professors and holding meetings with CJCJ (the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice) and Delancey Street.

Rosenbush worked with the San Francisco Probation Department’s Community Assessment Service Center (CASC), where she conducted seminars and was able to interview 40 to 50 applicants.

75 percent of employees have convictions

And among the 33 current employees, 75 percent have convictions.

Although Rosenbush has been able to hire quite a number of formerly incarcerated individuals, it’s been a challenge.

“I wish that I had more support,” she says. “The biggest challenge is that a lot of people I’ve hired are getting support elsewhere like living at Delancey Street or there’s some kind of safety net under them, but I’m not a social service. I’m a business. Another issue is a lot of insecurity. It’s intimidating to go into a new world.”

The restaurant business requires a certain level of knowledge and sophistication, and she says that Cala has diners asking about wine from servers who may have never drunk a glass of wine in their lives.

Doing the right thing by giving second chance

In spite of the challenges, Rosenbush is convinced she’s doing the right thing. “I wouldn’t have done it any other way. The level of loyalty and the sense of family we’re in the process of creating make it all worthwhile. And it’s why I want to go to work everyday,” she says.

What’s she’s looking for in a potential employee above all else is a sense of commitment. “I’m interested in people who are interested in something more than just a paycheck. I don’t care if you don’t know anything about food or wine or cocktails. If you’re committed to showing up every day that counts,” Rosenbush says.

She’s lost many of her earliest employees. But she’s also had some amazing success stories, including a guy who had been living in a halfway house and on his first day of looking for a job had heard that Cala was hiring.

“He came in off the street, and I was having a meeting, but he shook my hand and looked me in the eye. We hired him as a back waiter, and he did so well that we promoted him to server,” she says.

Unfortunately, the man no longer works for the restaurant, because he was able to find a job near his family 250 miles from San Francisco.

Others have graduated from back serving to serving and transitioned into working the bar, but in addition to their own personal success stories, the employees have been part of Cala’s success.

“The restaurant has had great acceptance into the city in part thanks to who we’ve hired. It adds to the experience,” says Rosenbush.

Tips for re-entry job seekers

Rosenbush offers tips for people in re-entry who are looking for a job:

  • Perseverance is very important. If you come back again and again it shows you really want to be there.
  • Look people in the eye. If I interview someone who doesn’t make eye contact that’s the first red flag.

Advice for businesses

She also has advice for restaurants or other business who are committed to hiring employees who were formerly incarcerated:

  • Have a lot of patience with your staff and support them during their the training. You might have to say things three times instead of just once.
  • Be aware of the other life issues that may come up for them.
  • Understand that employing someone and giving them a regular paycheck offers access to stability, and in some cases an opportunity to transition out of halfway housing and into their own living situation. You’re making a big impact on their lives.

 

Jails to Jobs is searching for ideas for this blog. If you know of a company that is hiring ex-offenders, or if you have unique job search tips that could assist ex-offenders in finding employment or are aware of organizations or agencies doing exceptional things that benefit ex-offenders in their job search efforts, we'd love to hear from you.