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Re-Entry: A Key Point for Business Innovation

Richard Fetchick, Business Intelligence Manager

In an effort to improve the re-entry pipeline for the formerly incarnated, Leon County Government and the Office of Economic Vitality partnered with MIT Sloan School of Management-USA Lab. This study included housing, transportation, counseling, and career opportunities. From the USA Lab Partnership, the importance of connecting re-entering citizens to long-term, livable wage jobs were emphasized, which reduces recidivism, lightens the tax burden, and can be of great benefit to employers. Businesses interested in learning more about these hiring options are encouraged to reach out to Big Bend After Re-entry Coalition (BBARC) and CareerSource Capital Region.

As highlighted in the study, many of these individuals encounter barriers, such as stigma surrounding their criminal record, living wages and career advancement opportunities available through existing employment options, and business-specific challenges, such as handling sensitive information. But overcoming these challenges entails benefits to employers, including a broadened employment pipeline, increased employee retention rates, and federal incentive programs such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

The study team pointed out that meaningful employment – or a job held for over six months, significantly reduces recidivism. Additionally, partners in the re-entry ecosystem such as Big Bend After Re-Entry Coalition stand highly motivated to assist in assuring seamless transitions back into productive employment. Member nonprofits are actively working with returned citizens to improve job skills and facilitate job placements. And CareerSource Capital Region hosts events specifically directed at assisting re-entering job-seekers through its Employ Florida resources.

In conclusion, by reducing or removing barriers to successful re-entry, employers can benefit from hiring motivated individuals that want to compete for a job and contribute to their families and communities. Interested individuals and businesses can follow up with BBARC and CareerSource Capital Region to learn more about opportunities in this segment of the talent pipeline. For a copy of the study, feel free to reach out to info@oevforbusiness.org.

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