Essays on People, Place & Purpose

Investing in What Works for America's Communities

How Can We Create Job Opportunities for the Formerly Incarcerated?

by Admin

In the wake of several high-profile incidents of police misconduct, criminal justice reform has become a popular topic throughout the nation. Last month, President Obama issued orders freeing dozens of federal prisoners charged with nonviolent drug offenses and became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison and meet with inmates.

Since 1980, the federal prison population in this country has skyrocketed, soaring more than 800%, with disproportionate numbers of young men of color behind bars. As nearly 65 million Americans carry a criminal record, they face restrictions on housing, jobs, education and public assistance. Some survey data even suggest that more than half of released ex-offenders remain unemployed up to a year after their release.

In Dallas, Texas, Frazier Revitalization, Inc. (FRI) (a Partners in Progress grantee) is exploring how to address this national issue within their local context. FRI is calling on you to share your ideas on how we can create more job opportunities for ex-offenders and other groups who are hard-to-employ, including people with no high school diploma or who have been out of the workforce.

FRI’s Challenge Question: How can we create opportunities for living-wage jobs for hard-to-employ residents of high-risk urban communities, such as the Frazier neighborhood in Dallas? Hard-to-employ populations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Ex-offenders
  • Chronically unemployed
  • High school dropouts

FRI is a nonprofit organization based in the Frazier neighborhood of Dallas, Texas, an area that struggles with crime, poverty, and unemployment, and is home to large numbers of formerly incarcerated residents. Once a proud community, Frazier has suffered both public and private disinvestment due to poor policies and redlining, and many residents feel robbed of hope without the ability to have meaningful, living-wage jobs. Help FRI transform the Frazier neighborhood by sharing your ideas on how to advance opportunity and employment for its residents.

Join the conversation through September 11 to submit your ideas, and vote and comment on your peers’ posts.

The winner of the Challenge will have the honor and opportunity to present their idea in a public forum that will include local government representatives, nonprofit members and their leadership, philanthropic and industry movers and shakers, local clergy and residents of the Frazier Neighborhood.

Click HERE to submit your ideas

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Investing in What Works for America’s Communities is a joint project of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Low Income Investment Fund.

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The ideas in Investing in What Works for America’s Communities are just a start. We want to hear about what’s working in your community. Tell us about innovative ideas for addressing poverty and share examples of people and places that inspire you. We want to share these ideas and spark conversation about how to create opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. Tell Us What Works

Funding for this project was generously provided to the Low Income Investment Fund by the Citi Foundation.