November 13 2012
After 18 years behind bars and a two year job search, Anthony Gray found work at Milwaukee's Kangaroo Brands. Click the player to hear his story.
The Milwaukee Re-Entry network reached out to local employers to promote hiring of qualified ex-offenders at its first-ever employer summit last week.
The network gathered more than 100 employers at Serb Hall in West Allis for a day of seminars and addressed the resources, benefits, and facts about hiring former inmates.
Speakers addressed the gray areas, such as whether or not to conduct criminal background checks, how employers can protect themselves through the Federal Bonding Program, and federal tax incentives available through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
"Businesses recognize the value of reaching and retaining talent," said Angela Turner, president of the Center for Self-Sufficiency, in a news release. "When organizations don't consider people with criminal convictions they are missing out on a valuable talent pool."
Some inmates complete job readiness programs while incarcerated such as earning their GEDs, or certification in carpentry, maintenance, hospitality and masonry, according to the release.
"Many former offenders are already equipped with skills in various trades and ready for employment," said Janice Stricker, a U.S. probation officer in the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee Re-Entry Network's employment seminar was sponsored by the Center for Self-Sufficiency, Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, U.S. Probation Office - Eastern Division of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Community Services, and the YWCA.