Central Iowa Employer Summit at Iowa Correctional Institution for Women to Focus on Second Chance Hiring, Iowa’s Untapped Workforce

On behalf of Central Iowa Works, we are pleased to announce that Kyle Horn of America’s Job Honors program will offer the keynote address during this Thursday morning’s Employer Summit, sponsored by our two organizations, at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville.

ICIW CIW TDL graduates

Graduates of the inaugural Central Iowa Works TDL Academy, May 2016, at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women.

In the United States, one out of every 28 children has a parent behind bars. For African American children, the number jumps to one out of nine. Each year, more than 5,000 citizens return from prison to their communities in Iowa.

Being employed at a good job dramatically reduces the likelihood that an individual will re-offend.

Attendees of the September 8 Iowa Employer Summit at ICIW will have the opportunity to participate in a fun and interactive “Reentry Simulation” as they “live the life” of someone being released from prison–experiencing first-hand the barriers and challenges that ex-offenders may encounter on a daily basis.

Topics up for discussion from a business and legal standpoint will cover issues related to hiring ex-offenders with an emphasis on tax credits, negligent hiring, liability insurance, the federal bonding program, and opportunities for mentoring ex-offenders.

The summit will feature the remarks of and presentations by ICIW Warden Patti Wachtendorf, Kevin VanderSchel with the U.S. Attorney’s office, Jason Landess and Julie Little with Iowa Workforce Development, and Central Iowa Works staff.

There are more than 9,000 people on parole or probation in the 5th Judicial District, which includes much of Central Iowa. At the same time employers in all labor-market sectors are struggling to find qualified and skilled workers.

Tapping into this large pool of applicants can not only help employers fill critical openings–but also reduce crime in local and regional communities by finding jobs for returning citizens.

Central Iowa Works this year launched a “first-of-its-kind” program focused on soft skills and job training to help inmates serving time at ICIW to find good jobs after they are released. Fifteen women in July graduated as Central Iowa Works wrapped up with the second cohort to complete our ICIW Transportation, Distribution and Logistics (TDL) Academy.

We are committed to working with relevant partners while creating and implementing pathways that allow for greater career advancement and employment.

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