Employment Project

The Employment Initiative is developing incentives for employer participation with the Reentry Initiative; increasing community awareness about this population; coordinating services with the Oregon Department of Corrections; and forging strong partnerships with businesses and staffing agencies. St. Vincent de Paul enlisted expertise from the Washington State Employment Security Department to convene community forums to expand the base of employers willing to hire people with criminal records. Significant efforts are underway to forge relationships with manufacturing and other sector employers in the Willamette Valley for such opportunities, with the help of the Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR), a regional economic development organization. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of hiring an employment specialist (“job developer”) position and recently hired an employment integration specialist to assist with employment support for people under supervision.

A workgroup called the Barrier Busters conducted research on what policies other states have implemented to reduce barriers to employment for this population. A number of bills will be introduced during the 2009 legislative session to provide incentives to employers to hire ex-offenders and provide ex-offenders with the tools they need to gain and retain a job. Legislative concepts include:

  • Expanded On-the-Job training program offering training stipends to participating employers who hire ex-offenders;
  • An Oregon tax credit to employers who hire ex-offenders;
  • Preference points in government contracting for vendors who hire ex-offenders;
  • Certificates of relief for qualified offenders to obtain licenses in selected areas of employment;
  • Incentives for inmates to participate in education programs to obtain a GED or college degree;
  • Assurance that all released offenders have identification needed to obtain work;
  • Documentation of educational and treatment programs completed while in custody.

Click here to see The Salem Chamber of Commerce article regarding transitional workforce and return on investment.

Click here to return back to the Marion County Reentry Initiative Homepage.

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