The Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation Second Chance Corporate Cohort Program helps companies become second chance employers

Dave's Killer Bread Foundation Second Chance Corporate Cohort ProgramThinking about hiring formerly incarcerated employees but don’t know how to do it? Check out the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation Second Chance Corporate Cohort Program.

As the nonprofit arm of Milwaukie, Ore., Dave’s Killer Bread — owned by Flowers Foods, a Fortune 500 company – the foundation was created to encourage businesses to adopt second chance hiring, just as the company itself has done. And the cohort program, now training its fourth group of employers, is its most recent effort.

“We developed the cohort program in early 2020, designed to be an in-person experience. Covid changed all that,” says Anne Parmeter, the foundation’s instructional designer.

Each cohort consists of three to five companies, and each company sends three employees. These employees include human resource and operations professionals who want to learn how to create an “inclusive, thriving and competitive” environment. The program is run by two to three facilitators.

Although different types of companies are combined within each cohort, DKBF is exploring creating customized cohorts for specific industries and geographical areas.

Industries represented by participants

So far, participants in the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation Second Chance Corporate Cohort Program have come from the foodservice, finance, retail and tech industries, as well as nonprofit organizations and state governments. Most of the companies have been U.S. based, but there have been a few international participants.

“Really, any company that wants to retain top talent and is ready to improve their employment practices is the right fit,” Parmeter says.

And once a company decides to participate, it chooses the employees who will be part of the cohort.

“We provide some guidance, such as recommending having one person from HR, one from legal, and another of their choosing. Often, that third participant is a recruiter, someone from DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), an executive or a directly impacted employee.

The fee is $5,000 for the participating organizations.

How it works

Each cohort takes place over eight weeks. And each week participants are required to engage in an hour or two of independent study online and a two-hour workshop. The current cohort meets on Thursday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. PST.

During the weekly meetings, cohort members review and discuss the video lectures and reading materials for that week. They also have an opportunity to break into groups.

“Sometimes they are in groups with people in similar roles at different companies, or with their company teams. In breakout rooms, they work to process and complete the activities for the week, which are directly related to how they will implement second chance hiring in their organization,” Parmeter says.

Parmeter leads the current cohort, along with Ken Oliver, the executive director of, the nonprofit arm of background checking company Checkr.

“The aim in each cohort is to always have one facilitator who works in the non-profit/community-based organization space, and/or has been directly impacted by the American legal system. My role is as the instructional designer, making the sessions as fun and accessible as possible,” she adds.

The end result for participants

What will participants be able to do after they complete the program that they couldn’t do before?

“Participants leave the eight-week program with an implementation plan. They literally have a PowerPoint deck that they have created and are ready to pitch to their own organizations, specifying not just why they should do this work, but what the pilot and the next six months will look like,” Parmeter says.

The next cohort will begin in January, and if you’re interested, email to set up a call.

Second Chance Employment Accelerator program

If you’re just exploring the possibility of second chance hiring, maybe DKBF’s Second Chance Employment Accelerator program, a recently launched endeavor, might be more appropriate for your needs. This self-paced program is geared toward small businesses and internal teams within larger companies.

It consists of six units:

  • Issues related to incarceration and employment.
  • Strategies for change.
  • Understanding Risk.
  • Recruiting and partnerships.
  • Crafting communications.
  • Creating the candidate experience.

The cost is $750  and allows six months of access to the program’s content. It also offers a one-on-one consultation phone call with a DKBF second chance employment expert. Participants can present their second chance employment implementation plans and get feedback.

Custom training

In addition to the cohort and acceleration programs, DKBF offers custom training and is currently customizing an entire program for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

Those employers interested in learning more about second chance hiring right now can check out the DKBF’s Second Chance Playbook. The playbook site includes a series of videos about different aspects of second chance hiring by people who have been there and done it.

A second chance ecosystem

DKBF has created a map displaying second chance employment partners and wraparound service providers across the U.S. It serves as an excellent resource for business leaders who are considering a second chance hiring program of their own.

The map could also be used to identify second chance employers for anyone seeking employment. It will continue to expand as new partners and wraparound services are developed and discovered and added.

For more information contact





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One Comment

  1. Wonderful article that answers many questions and looks like it is offering valid solutions that also solve many of this nation’s more troubling ailments.

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