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Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. delivered opening remarks at the San Diego Employer Forum where state and local leaders discussed the benefits of hiring trained former offenders.
“When we reduce recidivism, we reduce costs,” said Gov. Brown to a room full of employers. “You improve not
only the lives of people in prison, but also their families and it’s a big thing. We can do better.”
The Employer Forum was hosted by CDCR and the California Prison Industry Authority, in partnership with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, San Diego County Probation Department, California Workforce Development Board, San Diego Workforce Partnership and Second Chance.
“Employers are a key piece to the reentry puzzle,” said CDCR Secretary and Prison Industry Board Chair, Scott Kernan. “There are many men and women who leave prison with valuable job skills, training, and certifications and when a former offender secures a job it keeps our communities safer and saves the state money.”
The average cost to house a CDCR offender is over $70,000 a year.
The event drew in packed house at the Jacobs Center with over 400 attendees. In the last four years, CDCR and CALPIA have held similar Employer Forums in Los Angeles, Sacramento and the Bay Area always partnering with the local Sheriff’s Department.
Employers who attended the forum learned about accessing a pool of trained, skilled and certified workers. Also, business owners discovered how to reduce their recruitment and training costs through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and fidelity bonding options.
“Since we launched the Reentry Works job centers inside two correctional facilities in 2015 and 2016, we have seen how important it is for incarcerated men and women to get a head start on career services before release,” said Peter Callstrom, CEO of San Diego Workforce Partnership. “The journey doesn’t end there; we know that employers play a big role in reentry success. The larger benefit to society, by reducing recidivism, is invaluable.”