Second Chance Employer Profile
U.S. Rubber Recycling
This southern California manufacturer turns discarded tires into sports flooring and other products. Located in the Inland Empire near San Bernardino, U.S. Rubber Recycling began hiring individuals who were formerly incarcerated to ensure it had enough employees in a very tight job market.
The company has 65 employees, and half of them have past felony convictions. It plans to expand to 200 employees by the end of 2025 to handle a rapid growth in business that occurred during the Covid epidemic. Before the Covid era, U.S. Rubber Recycling’s market was selling flooring primarily to gyms and health clubs. But during the pandemic, a lot of people were creating home gyms, a new business for the company, which also developed a relationship with Home Depot to sell to consumers.
Second chance hiring practices
U.S. Rubber has been hiring people in reentry for two decades, but Jeff Baldassari, who was hired in 2019 as general manager, took the practice to a new level. Baldassari created an initiative known as Bounce Back! And has made it an integral part — its heart and soul, as he says – of the company’s culture and a main focus of the company’s branding.
Bounce Back! offers job opportunities to people who might otherwise find it difficult to gain employment. And it also grants a new life to rubber tires that might otherwise end up in a landfill. The company gives out T-shirt and hats with the Bounce Back logo to create enthusiasm among employees.
After being hired, second chance employees meet with Nancy Lambert, a psychiatric rehabilitation counselor – she also serves as human resources manager – to make sure they are emotionally and mentally ready to be part of the workforce. After that Lambert spends time with them on a regular basis to teach life skills like opening a bank account or establishing rapport with coworkers.