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Reynolds to speak at Employer and Reentry roundtable

Incentives for hiring returning citizens to be discussed

ROCKWELL CITY — Opportunities that await inmates when they reenter the workforce and the companies that could employ them will be discussed during a breakfast roundtable at the North Central Correctional Facility on Thursday.

The Employer and Reentry Breakfast Roundtable is hosted by the Iowa Department of Corrections and Iowa Workforce Development.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will speak at the event, which begins at 8 a.m.

“With one of the strongest job markets in the country, we must innovate and seek new ways to grow our workforce,” Reynolds said. “Matching employers’ needs with formerly incarcerated individuals looking for a new opportunities in life will do just that. These conversations will build a strong connection within the community, help close the current skills gap and open new doors for Iowans on the road to redemption.”

Employers, recruiters and human resource managers are encouraged to attend.

“The Iowa Corrections team, along with our government, nonprofit, and community college partners, has put a tremendous amount of work into transforming incarcerated people into the type of worker that an employer would like to have,” said Iowa Corrections Director Beth Skinner. “Many of these returning citizens are jobsite-ready. We want to make sure that as employers are looking to fill their labor needs, they consider this population for their workforce.”

The roundtable will include presentations and discussions about recruiting and training practices, apprenticeship programs and incentives available to employers who hire returning citizens.

Iowa Central Community College has been using a program called Second Chance Pell to educate inmates.

Second Chance Pell was introduced in 2016. The program enables inmates who are within five years of release and who meet financial requirements to apply for federal Pell Grants. Those grants are then used to pay for classes offered by Iowa Central.

Through the Second Chance program, the college has served more than 500 inmates.

“A common theme we hear from employers is that there are not enough people to fill their open positions,” said Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend. “This event is an opportunity to learn how employers can benefit from hiring and training returning citizens. By opening their recruitment strategy to include returning citizens, employers can find the skilled workers they need and be a part of someone’s success story.”

Employers may register for the roundtable event at Eventbrite. A link to the online registration will be available at doc.iowa.gov.

Those interested in attending the event or have additional questions, contact Richelle Seitz at richelle.seitz@ iwd.iowa.gov.