City of Boston and partners to bring job fair series to incarcerated and returning citizens
As part of the City of Boston’s efforts to reintegrate returning citizens into the community, Mayor Kim Janey today announced a virtual job fair series designed to help current or formerly justice-involved individuals access job openings, educational opportunities, job search skills, and other critical resources. The events, held throughout May, are organized by MassHire Downtown Boston Career Center, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, BeProximate, and Project Opportunity, a City initiative that works to create equitable opportunities for residents with criminal records (CORIs).
“Each year, more than 3,000 people return to Boston upon their release from incarceration,” said Mayor Janey. “These returning citizens deserve the opportunity to create a fresh start and make positive contributions to their community. But that transition depends on our support. A second chance begins with a job prospect, an education pathway, the critical resources for daily living – exactly the things this job fair series promotes.”
In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, series partners have worked together to ensure that inmates at Suffolk County Jail and Suffolk County House of Correction can participate in the virtual events. Both facilities are operated by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department.
“We know that good, sustainable employment is one of the critical elements for the success of anyone returning to society from incarceration,” said Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins. “This is why we offer many different skills-building and job preparedness training programs for the men and women in our care and custody. Unfortunately, the CORI continues to be an obstacle for many returning citizens seeking employment, so access to resources and opportunities like these is extremely important.”
“At MassHire Downtown Boston Career Center, we recognize the significant barriers to employment faced by returning citizens and individuals with CORIs,” said Doreen Treacy VP of Career Services at MassHire Downtown Boston. “We are committed to helping reduce these barriers by equipping jobseekers with the tools they need and connecting them to hiring events and resources.”
The event series is free and open to all Massachusetts residents, but requires participants to register at tinyurl.com/JobEdFair. The schedule of events is as follows:
- Why and How to Create a Resume: Tuesday, May 4, 1-2:30 p.m.
- Interview Basics: Thursday, May 6, 1-2:30 p.m.
- Job Fair Prep: Tuesday, May 11, 1-2:30 p.m.
- Job Fair: Wednesday, May 19, 1-2:30 p.m.
- Education/Resource Fair: Friday, May 21, 1-2:30 p.m.
The job fair will feature Amazon, Flour Bakery, Greater Boston Food Bank, Monroe Staffing, VPNE, and Whole Foods Market, with more employers to come.
Mayor Janey has proclaimed the final week of the series, May 17 - May 21, – which culminates in the job fair and education/resource fair – “Second Chance and Reentry Week” in Boston. The week will include an exhibit and panel discussions organized by BeProximate to advocate for the support of returning citizens. Speakers will include Suffolk County D.A. Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins, and State Rep. Liz Miranda.
“In the City of Boston, cross-sector fertilization drives social innovation to address both citywide and neighborhood-specific needs,” said BeProximate founder Diana Saintil. “However, we must extend our politics beyond our personal proclivities to devise cross-sector solutions to address the most salient reentry challenges in housing, employment, health, and education for returning citizens. We must BeProximate to people with empathy. Proximity with apathy is too great a threat to transformational change.”
In addition to promoting career development opportunities, the event series also extends the outreach of Project Opportunity, a collaboration of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety, the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens, and SOAR Boston. Project Opportunity connects residents with free legal consultation to review the potential for sealing or expunging their CORIs. The City of Boston pays for the cost of accessing a CORI, while partner Lawyers Clearinghouse provides legal consultation and full representation if an individual’s record can be sealed or expunged.
The job fair series also supports the mission of the Mayor’s upcoming 2021 Summer Violence Prevention Plan. The Plan develops a framework to scale up prosocial activities, strengthen intervention efforts, ensure neighborhoods are supported and connected to resources, expand intentional outreach and engagement for specific populations, and provide positive activities and community engagement in public spaces.