Our June guest speaker for InCheck’s DEI Learning Series, Ruben Gaona, shared how The Way Out’s anti-bias employment platform helps justice-involved job seekers find success.
“I can’t” does not exist. It is an excuse we tell ourselves to not reach our true potential.-Ruben Gaona, Co-Founder of The Way Out
Learning how we, as background screeners, can best support the Fair Chance movement and be a voice for change in our industry is an integral part of InCheck’sDE&I journey. According to Brookings, about one-third of all 30-year-old men who aren’t working are either incarcerated or unemployed ex-prisoners. Additionally, only 55% of the formerly incarcerated find employment within their first year of release. These underemployment statistics are sobering, illustrating the devastating reality for many formerly incarcerated individuals in today’s labor market.
With this as our backdrop, InCheck welcomed Ruben Gaona, Co-Founder of The Way Out, as our all-company June guest speaker. Ruben spoke passionately about The Way Out’s anti-bias employment platform and commitment to breaking the incarceration cycle through living-wage jobs, technology, and social support services. His presentation was riveting and inspiring, highlighting his personal story of incarceration and struggle as a justice-involved job seeker (JIJS) to overcome the stigma of a criminal conviction and find gainful employment as a case manager.
Here are our takeaways from Ruben’s presentation.
Breaking the Cycle
The Way Out provides a comprehensive second-chance employment platform that helps qualified JIJS matchup with employers to reduce the labor demand for skills-based careers.
As JIJS advocates, The Way Out enables essential connections between employers and a motivated workforce. But, that only scratches the surface of all that this organization provides.
The Way Out believes in the power of using difficult past experiences to create a better future for every justice-involved individual. By understanding their journey, acknowledging their mistakes, and helping them move beyond to realize their value, The Way Out enables JIJS to find renewed confidence and show up as their authentic selves — with the end goal of breaking the cycle of incarceration.
To this end, The Way Out paves the way for JIJS to successfully integrate into their new roles and society with additional social support services. From housing, transportation, clothing, and mental health support to resume writing, technology training, interview prep, and educational opportunities, The Way Out provides essential assistance to the JIJS community.
Bridging the Gap
By educating employers about the socio-economic benefits of hiring from this “hard to employ” population, The Way Out is bridging the gap between employers and JIJS, removing the stigma, and aligning viable job candidates with opportunities that could be life-changing.
Intent on changing the narrative for JIJS, The Way Out has developed numerous tools and resources for employers, encouraging them to take advantage of this untapped talent pool and ensuring JIJS success on the job.
The Way Out’s Employer Services provide Direct-Hire recruitment opportunities, including a data-driven application and screening process, ongoing employee training, support, and transportation, and access to employer subsidies that offset training costs. Additionally, The Way Out recently launched My Way Out, an app and interactive dashboard that offers real-time communication, goal tracking, and incentive opportunities. Lastly, consulting and coaching services are available for employers interested in customized, sustainable second chance hiring programs, DE&I training, and supervisor/manager support.
Championing the Change
As we continue our DE&I journey, we challenge ourselves to think differently, take action to make positive changes, and support organizations who strive to do the same. We feel fortunate to have such a groundbreaking organization serving our community and look forward to partnering with The Way Out to support JIJS.