During a recent Integration Initiative Learning Community, participating sites reflected on their efforts to improve the workforce systems in their respective regions. In a corresponding panel session, The Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP) - an inaugural site in the Integration Initiative - discussed the particular challenge of integrating formerly incarcerated individuals back into the workforce. Through the work of the BIP, leaders quickly learned that many previously incarcerated individuals struggled to find jobs because their incarceration history raised additional hurdles to employment. After BIP shared their experience in Baltimore, all of our Integration Initiative sites recognized similarities in their respective work. The issue of creating quality employment opportunities for people who have previously been incarcerated is one facing cities across the country.

Today, one in four US adults have a criminal record. While it is increasingly difficult for most low-income people to find jobs, difficulties for the formerly incarcerated are magnified, creating often insurmountable barriers to quality careers. Removing the significant barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated individuals requires a different approach than cities have taken in the past.

Living Cities strives to better understand the challenges mass incarceration presents to job accessibility and what can be done on the local and regional level. On March 26 , we invite you to join us for a webinar that will explore approaches to reduce barriers to employment faced by formerly incarcerated individuals. You can register here for more information on the webinar.

Several partnerships across the country are working to address this challenge. We encourage you to join our webinar to hear more about how civic leaders from Baltimore, San Francisco, and Atlanta are promoting approaches that expand access to economic opportunity for people facing significant non-skills barrier to employment.

We’re excited to have a panel of folks currently working in the field to tackle the issue. You’ll hear from Doug Anmar, _ Georgia Justice Project, Jason Perkins-Cohen, Jobs Opportunity Task Force, Joshua Arce, _ Brightline Defense, and Sam Schaeffer,_ Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO)_.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, March 26th from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EST . Please register here to participate.

We will be tweeting about the event with the hashtag #access2jobs and invite everyone to share their thoughts and questions with us @Living_Cities. I do hope you join us and take part in this crucial conversation!