At a recent San Diego Re-Entry Roundtable Employment Committee meeting, KRA Career Agent Catherine McLean, San Diego Metro Career Centers—operated for the San Diego Workforce Partnership—met Dennis Walsh, CEO, Oasis Breads, a 40-year old wholesale establishment that supplies fresh baked goods to local establishments.
Subsequently, through continued discussions, Walsh earned the distinction of becoming the first employer-partner to commit to supporting the Career Centers’ New Beginnings Program that assists the Justice Involved population—individuals re-entering society after incarceration—with workforce-preparation and job-placement opportunities necessary to avoid recidivism.
In early 2017, McLean and KRA Workshop Facilitator Terrance Bowens developed and designed New Beginnings, a 5-day job-readiness workshop that identifies and addresses personal barriers to employment; expands Internet job-search skills, including the optimum use of the CalJOBS system; and provides expert resume-development services prior to developing viable employment opportunities with local businesses.
Rapidly expanding his operation to keep up with an increased demand for Oasis’ products, Walsh committed to expanding his hiring efforts to include Justice Involved jobseekers in the belief, promoted by and shared with New Beginnings, that providing sustainable employment reduces crime and violence in the community.
Walsh invited a group of KRA San Diego staff to tour the Oasis facility, learn about the company and its culture, meet employees, and discuss ways to engage more businesses, community organizations, and other workforce-services stakeholders in the New Beginnings Program.
McLean reported, “It was a great opportunity to see the kind of environment in which our jobseeker-customers would be working. It’s important for employers to hire Justice Involved individuals, but just as important that the person hired succeed in the position.”
On November 6th, KRA and Oasis will co-host a focus group for employers, including other manufacturing companies, to explore strategies for supporting Justice Involved individuals, and to plan for a January 2018 “Lunch and Learn” for businesses committed to decreasing recidivism in the community.