Today, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber and Hope for Prisoners announce a partnership to create more employment opportunities for the re-entry population. The collaboration will connect the graduates of the Hope for Prisoners program with hundreds of employers and potential job opportunities.
Hope for Prisoners assists with re-entry into the community by providing formerly incarcerated people long-term support services as they work to reclaim their lives, families, and standing in the community. Hope for Prisoners provides its clients with job training, financial and life-skills training, mentorship, and counseling. Hope for Prisoners has gained national recognition for its effectiveness and has been lauded by President Donald J. Trump and United States Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.
“The graduates of Hope for Prisoners are ready to re-integrate into society in a positive way and contribute to the economic growth of our community. This partnership with the Las Vegas Chamber and its members will connect our graduates with employment opportunities, a key factor in creating economic stability and successful re-entry,” said Jon Ponder, CEO and Founder of the organization.
“Just as Hope for Prisoners works with its clients on employment skills and leadership development, we as a Chamber need to work with our business community to educate them about the social and economic benefits of giving someone a second chance. Our businesses tell us they need qualified and dedicated employees. The clients of Hope for Prisoners represent new sources of talent with varied skills and life experiences that can translate into exceptional hires,” said Mary Beth Sewald, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber.
The Metro Chamber is the largest business organization in Nevada. Founded in 1911, it is focused on advocacy and public policy at all levels of government, developing partnerships to improve the community, and providing resources to help businesses grow, thrive and create jobs.
According to Inc. magazine, roughly 70 million adults in this country have criminal records; and more than 10 million return to their communities from incarceration each year. Evidence shows that providing job opportunities to the formerly incarcerated reduces the recidivism rate.
Additionally, businesses that hire former felons may be eligible for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Generally, an employer can earn a tax credit equal to 25% to 40% of a new employee’s first-year wages. Also, businesses may be eligible to participate in the Federal Bonding Program that limits an employer’s risk, liability, and insurance costs.
With the low unemployment rate of 4.2% in Nevada, Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s local workforce board, has put a strong focus on alternative labor pools like the re-entry population, people with disabilities, veterans, disconnected youth, and the underemployed to help meet the needs of employers to find qualified employees.