Improving Re-entry Programs to Expand Employment Opportunities

In Los Angeles County, a statewide ballot measure that downgraded certain property and drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors enabled thousands of people to be released from jail. To help successfully integrate this population back into the workforce, the Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services enlisted FUSE executive fellow Alex-Handrah Aimé to prime the pipeline to employment by engaging with businesses and by working to reduce the stigma associated with “justice-involved” individuals.

Alex-Handrah, in collaboration with another FUSE executive fellow, launched a multimedia campaign that included a video and print media designed to change perceptions about justice-involved individuals, and to underscore the business benefits of being a “fair chance” employer. Elements of the campaign have been adopted by the county as a training tool for relevant human resource, legal, and workforce development staff. Alex-Handrah also spearheaded a pilot program that will place 100 justice-involved youth in two-month, subsidized private-sector internships. She brought together a group of county stakeholders to identify opportunities to deliver services for workforce training. These initiatives improved collaboration between agencies, bolstered relationships with the private sector, and helped elevate reentry as a priority issue across L.A county.

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