TODAY’S MODERATOR: Working with returning ex-felons

Sharing more today from the recent Think Regional! 2017 Summit, where regional leaders discussed workforce development.

Several panelists talked about ex-felons who want to return to the workforce as an important population. "We have a number of employers who work directly with prisons, saying 'If you train them, we'll hire them right away,' and get them right back into the workforce," said Brendon Cull of the Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce.

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Phil Parker, president and CEO of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, said former inmates “often have lots of skills employers can use,” while also noting that hiring ex-felons can be a “mixed bag” for employers. “If you can help them break into the job market so that they can prove themselves, a lot of them are really hungry for opportunities to get back to work,” he said.

Both agreed that the employer needs to be careful about fit and be aware of the person’s background — a fraud convict may not be the best person to handle money, for instance. But mostly, they said compassion counts.

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