In early 2017, KRA San Diego Metro Career Centers’ Catherine McLean, Career Agent, and Terrance Bowens, Workshop Facilitator, developed the New Beginnings Pathways to Employment Program for justice-involved individuals, i.e. jobseeker-customers with criminal records.
Laura Bowden, KRA Business Services Representative, often attends New Beginnings Workshops to inform participants about job openings available through the Career Centers. For one opportunity in particular, Terrance introduced her to Robert Garcia, who was more than ready, willing, and able to get his life back on track through sustainable employment.
For a Driver & Warehouse Associate position with San Diego Drums & Totes, which KRA/San Diego first recruited 2+ years ago for its Expanded Subsidized Employment Program, Laura presented Robert’s resume to Starr Skinner, Owner, who was not familiar with the term “justice involved”, and had never hired any prior-incarcerated individuals.
However, the KRA/San Diego Business and Career Services teams are adept at educating employers about the benefits of hiring candidates, like Robert, who are job-ready and dedicated to avoiding recidivism. In addition to the intrinsic value of helping returning residents, a “bottom-line” incentive, the Wage Reimbursement Program, re-pays the employee’s salary to the business for the first 6 months.
Mr. Skinner not only agreed to interview Robert, he hired him! In addition, post-placement, Catherine is providing retention-support follow-up services to both Robert and Mr. Skinner, immediately addressing any issues that might present barriers to a successful workplace relationship.
KRA/San Diego thanks San Diego Drums & Totes, Oasis Breads, Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, and all the San Diego Re-Entry Roundtable Employment Committee members for participating in New Beginnings, which could not exist, let alone succeed, without their continuing confidence and support.