Connecting employers with Washington’s hidden workforce

We all must work together to ensure that those re-entering the community after incarceration have opportunities for housing and employment and other connections to community. Commerce has been directly involved in re-entry in a number of ways this past year – and we will stay involved in years to come.

It is critical that re-entry after jail or prison go smoothly. Successful re-entry improves public safety and reduces recidivism. Commerce is leveraging connections with employers to help sponsor “Discover Washington’s Hidden Workforce: An Employer Forum” this fall to help update employers on training and skills men and women learn while in prison. Our goal is for more employers to meet people preparing to come back to the community and break down stereotypes about employing people with criminal histories.

Making connections and providing a forum to break down our assumptions about those who have paid their debt to society is part of the new Statewide Re-entry Council’s role at Commerce.

Why Commerce? The agency is a logical home for this work because our mission of strengthening communities is tied to funding community supports like safety, employment, housing, and community services.

To learn more about the upcoming employer forum and the re-entry council’s work, contact Cary Retlin, Interim Executive Director, Statewide Re-entry Council, (360) 725-2836.

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