Together with the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the Lawyers’ Committee convened the Alameda County Business Leaders Summit on Reentry in the summer of 2014. The Summit events were held in June and July, and were co-sponsored by the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, the East Bay Community Foundation, and Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean. The goal of these events was to bring together employers, business leaders, and Human Resources professionals to discuss challenges and opportunities related to hiring people with past criminal records, as a means of strengthening both businesses’ bottom lines and the local economy.
At each event, we had remarks from local business leaders who have hired people with past records, including Mike Hannigan, co-founder and president of Give Something Back Office Supplies, Derek Barrett, founder and CEO of D and B Painting Co., Inc., Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle, founder and president of Tri-CED Community Recycling, and Derreck B. Johnson, founder and president of the acclaimed Home of Chicken and Waffles.
Summit participants learned about the criminal justice system and the importance of employment and reentry from Jeanne Woodford, a senior distinguished fellow at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at UC Berkeley, and former warden of San Quentin State Prison, undersecretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and chief adult probation officer of the City and County of San Francisco.
Next, Jessica Flintoft, consultant to the Lawyers’ Committee’s, provided an overview of relevant employment laws, and Susana Villarreal, of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development for the City of Oakland, discussed incentives and subsidies for employers who hire people with records. Each of these presentations was followed by a break-out strategy session, during which participants shared their reactions and questions about the issues.
The Lawyers’ Committee and NELP have released a report of their findings from the Summit events, entitled “Strategies for Creating Fair Employment Opportunities for People with Criminal Records: Findings from the Alameda County Business Leaders Summit on Reentry.” The materials from each of the events are provided below.
Materials from the Summit Events