The Rhode Island Family Life Center, the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training will co-sponsor an employer development event titled Alternative Workforce Opportunities at the Biltmore Hotel on Thursday, November 13th, from 5pm – 8:30pm. The emcee for the evening will be Jim Hummel, formerly of ABC6 Television and the Providence Journal.
According to Sol Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Family Life Center, “Rhode Islanders, like Americans across the country, are facing difficult economic times. With unemployment on the rise, increasing numbers of men and women are competing for the same small pool of jobs.” She goes on, “Through this event, we hope to assist business leaders – and ultimately the state – by bringing to employers’ attention the potential of reliable, job-ready, motivated individuals who have had experience with the prison system and are now trying to turn their lives around by seeking gainful employment.”
Mr. John Corella, CEO of Corella Companies in Phoenix, Arizona, past Regional Small Businessman of the Year, National Minority Contractor of the Year, and winner of Congressional and Senate awards, will keynote the event with a discussion of the potential benefits and opportunities posed by hiring formerly incarcerated individuals. As a member of the Governor of Arizona’s Taskforce on Re-Entry, Mr. Corella dedicated his energy to cementing partnerships between employers and training providers for win-win workforce solutions.
Following the keynote, local employers, providers of training programs both inside and outside of the state’s prisons, and those who have experienced first-hand with the barriers to employment will discuss re-entry and employment as a pressing community and public safety issue.
Roberta Richman, Assistant Director of Rehabilitative Services for the RIDOC and one of the panelists for the event, says, “The vast majority of prisoners in our system are serving short sentences for non-violent offenses. Most want nothing more than to become productive citizens, to find a good job, and to provide for their families. A stable job can be the deciding factor as to the direction their lives will take when they leave prison and whether or not they break the cycle of incarceration.”
Ken Cato, owner of Riverdale Window and Door, will also be part of the panel. Ken has hired over 300 offenders and/or ex-offenders over the past 20 years and notes, “They’ve been among my best employees. Most are very professional, reliable, and eager to please.” Mr. Cato will talk candidly about his experiences and some of the challenges and rewards he has faced as an employer.
Employers who register for the event will enjoy a wealth of information, a great networking opportunity, and a thought-provoking evening. Hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will be provided. Parking is available on the street or at the Providence Place Mall, and the Biltmore offers valet parking as well.
Please contact Heather Vail at the Rhode Island Family Life Center at (401) 781-5808, ext. 110, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns. There is no charge for the event, but space is limited. The deadline to RSVP is Monday, November 3rd.