Employers struggle to find great employees – but there is an under-utilized source of amazing talent that BOSS is passionate about sharing: fair chance hiring.
On April 18th at Cal State East Bay in Oakland, in partnership with Whole Foods, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and other sponsors, BOSS hosted a panel discussion of local employers who have hired BOSS participants along with current and past participants from our Career Training and Employment Center (CTEC) to educate employers on how to hire citizens returning from incarceration – overcoming stereotypes, understanding the challenges, and taking advantage of tax benefits for hiring returning citizens.
BOSS is an award-winning organization that was recently a BRIDGE award finalist for its innovative hiring practices. The BOSS CTEC Program provides intensive prep and placement assistance for high barrier job seekers, serving impoverished individuals who desire to turn their lives around. Ronald Broach (former graduate) is a testament to what CTEC provides, as he himself is now the Program Coordinator!
The April 18th event included a panel discussion, raffle, wine (donated by Rock Wall Wine Company in Alameda), and light bites. Panelists included Donald Frazier, BOSS Executive Director; Makedah Shartukar, Good Eggs (CTEC hiring partner); Ronald Broach, BOSS CTEC Program Coordinator; and Chari Kelley, CTEC participant. The four were asked questions by Melvin Cowan, BOSS Deputy Director, who moderated, and by audience members. The discussion was about recruiting qualified workers, hiring people with criminal records, lessons employers have learned, the challenges people face looking for work, and how employers can support returning citizens in the workplace.
The event would not have been possible if not for the hard work – ideas, outreach, planning, logistics, and day-of support – of our team of helpers from the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce ‘Leadership Oakland’ group. Thank you Jackie Keliiaa (East Bay Economic Development Alliance), Mercedes Gibson (Greenlining Institute/City of Oakland), Kevin Kenny (Cal State East Bay), Lewis Griggs (diversity consultant), and Pam Ferran (Office of Oakland Council Member Loren Taylor).
After the panel discussion, we drew raffle winners, and then sent everyone away with a packet of materials inviting them to hire CTEC participants or sponsor CTEC graduation. KCBS radio attended and did a story on the event the following morning (here).
BOSS would like to express our deepest gratitude to all the partners who helped us conduct this amazing event. We are truly grateful for the generous community that supports our mission to fight homelessness and help the poor achieve self-sufficiency!