Oklahoma’s prison system is currently housing 28,652 inmates. That’s the largest number in state history, and there is no more room. New legislation has been introduced to try and reduce the prison population after efforts to ease overcrowding stagnated three years ago.
Event Connects Influential Leaders to Strengthen and Develop the Leadership Pipeline in the Nonprofit and Social Sectors
NEW YORK, Mar 16, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) — American Express AXP, -0.73%announced its first-ever Leadership Academy Alumni Summit in New York City on March 23 and 24, celebrating eight years of its industry-defining program, which has developed more than 1,600 emerging, nonprofit leaders. Fifty distinguished alumni from around the globe will join Academy partners Aspen Institute, Ashoka Changemakers, ASU Lodestar Center, Center for Creative Leadership, Common Purpose, Community Foundation of Broward County, Points of Light and Thunderbird, to collaborate on opportunities to develop the next generation of social purpose leaders and strategies to advance the sector’s impact on society.
A survey of past American Express Leadership Academy attendees conducted in 2013 by Teng & Smith, Inc., found that:
74 percent of responders said this was the first intensive, leadership development training they have ever had;
73 percent cited the value of a national network of peers as extremely meaningful and wanted to continue to engage with each other following the Academy both virtually and in-person.
“We’re proud that our Alumni Network is made up of world class leaders who are tackling some of society’s most complex issues and having an impact on everything ranging from education, the arts, social services, health, the environment and more.,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president, American Express Foundation. “We believe the American Express Leadership Academy and Alumni network can help create a global platform for nonprofit leaders to train and grow on their journey serving the communities in which we all live and work.”
In an effort to benefit global emerging leaders in the social sector who are unable to attend in-person, American Express will live stream the first session featuring Nancy Lublin, CEO of Do Something, and Ami Dar, the Founder of Idealist.org discussing the future of social purpose leadership and how leaders can make an impact. The live stream is on Monday, March 23rd at 4:30 p.m. ET, and anyone can tune in by registering here and joining the conversation via Twitter by using #amexleads.
The Summit, in partnership with Atlas Corps., will feature a variety of workshops and panel discussions, focused on best practices and issues related to nonprofit leadership and will recognize one of its alumni, Anders L. Pettersson, executive director of ECPAT Sweden, with the first-ever American Express Leadership Academy award for his outstanding service in the social sector. In addition, his organization, ECPAT Sweden, will receive a $25,000 grant from the American Express Foundation.
“Given all the great talent and leaders that pass through the Academy, this recognition is very humbling,” said Pettersson. “ECPAT’s mission is to end sexual exploitation of children, and the Leadership Academy has really challenged me to take the fight to the next level. The inspiration that comes from these great programs has been a tremendous inspiration for me in forging a vision and strategy.”
To learn more about Mr. Pettersson and read the biographies of all 50 Alumni selected to participate in the Summit, please visit here.
Launched in 2008 in partnership with The Center for Creative Leadership, today the Leadership Academy includes nonprofit partners from around the globe. Each Academy is tailored to fit cultural nuances and serve different nonprofit niche needs, such as social entrepreneurship and international-facing nonprofits. In 2015, more than 600 nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs will participate in these global Leadership Academy programs.
To date, American Express has hosted over 50 Leadership Academy sessions in six countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Japan, Mexico and Canada, supporting more than 1,600 nonprofit and social sector leaders. In 2015, the Academy will extend with programs in China, Kenya and Senegal. Additionally, 15,000 leaders worldwide have benefitted from American Express leadership programs and grants. To learn more about the Academy and global partners, please visit http://about.americanexpress.com/csr/nla.aspx.
American Express: Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow
One of American Express’ three platforms for its philanthropy is Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow. Under this giving initiative, which recognizes the significance of strong leadership in the nonprofit and social sectors, American Express is making grants focused on training high potential emerging leaders to tackle important issues in the 21st century. Fifteen thousand emerging nonprofit and social sector leaders worldwide have benefitted from American Express leadership programs. Launched in 2008, the American Express Leadership Academy addresses the growing deficit of leadership talent in the nonprofit sector. The Academy brings together emerging leaders from a diverse set of nonprofit, social sector and non-governmental organizations.
Jason Camp, a production operator for Quikrete, clubs into heavy equipment to transport sand, at the facility on Wednesday, March 11, 2015. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
For Jason Camp, the Center for Employment Opportunities has been the conduit for a second chance.
Convicted of manufacturing a controlled, dangerous substance in 2010 and released from prison a year ago in February, Camp found getting a job impossible.
Every place he applied rejected him because of his felony conviction.
His parole officer recommended the Center for Employment Opportunities, a nonprofit that employs men and women who are coming out of prison on parole in transitional jobs where they build skills and experience before helping to place them in permanent jobs.
“This way I get to work every day. That beats the alternative of going back to prison,” Camp said. “It’s pretty wonderful. Not many people give people convicted of manufacturing a second chance.”
Camp has been working permanently at Quickrete for the last seven months.
Plant manager Randy Fowble said he has hired six people from the agency and that four of them are still on staff.
“As long as it’s not a bad felony, we don’t mind giving them a second chance,” Fowble said. “We get people who made bad decisions, maybe bought or sold drugs, and got caught and are now trying to move forward in their lives.”
The agency, known as CEO, recently celebrated its 500th client placed in full-time, unsubsidized work.
Since opening in 2011, the agency has worked with more than 850 clients.
“These are people who needed work quickly and were motivated. We gave them a job, and we put them to work immediately,” said Kelly Doyle, state director with CEO.
“They were looking for work, needed money in their pockets and needed people to vouch for them in order to get a job.”
The clients start with a four-day course covering soft skills and other things needed to get and retain a job.
“We prepare them to answer questions about their felony and give them training. After a week, we give them steel-toe boots, and they work for us while they are looking for a permanent job,” Doyle said.
The agency has about 20 workers in its transition jobs each day who work doing landscaping for the Guthrie Green, Tulsa Community College, the city of Jenks, the city of Sand Springs and the MET.
Studies have shown that CEO, which has offices throughout New York and California, has a 20 percent reduction in all aspects of recidivism including arrest, convictions and re-incarceration.
Additionally for every $1 spent by CEO there was a $3.30 savings in criminal-justice expenditures.
Fowble said working with CEO clients has helped stabilize a workforce that, because of its supply pool, has a lot of turnover.
“Most day laborers are people that can’t get a full-time job and usually have underlying issues,” he explained, adding that the CEO clients tend to stick with the job.
“These are not the most ideal conditions. You have to want to work to make a paycheck. If you give me what you got, I’ll give you what I’ve got.”
By the numbers
868: People served by CEO Tulsa since the summer of 2011.
$560,108: Wages earned by participants for transitional work.
$3,641,973: Wages earned through placement wages (only tracked through their first year of placement).
300: Number of people CEO Tulsa will serve this year.
89%: The Department of Labor (national) reported that 89% of individuals who violated the terms of their parole were unemployed at the time.
Operational excellence, hiring practices and best methods for foundation funding topped the agenda at the ninth annual Better Business Bureau symposium.
Claire Rosenzweig ,President and CEO of the BBB Serving Metropolitan New York, called the annual conference “an aggregate of thought leadership” and welcomed nearly 300 people at the sold out event. The conference was held at Baruch College on February 24.
This year, the BBB Charity Effectiveness Symposium focused on success and sustainability in the nonprofit sector. Dean and Professor at Baruch College School of Public Affairs David Birdsell said it’s important to take the “hopeful concept” of being proactive rather than reactive in ensuring quality of staff, operations and external relations.
“How do we look beyond the daily demands of operating and funding our operations to demanding environments that are cognizant of the realities?” Birdsell said.
The morning long event included an update from James Sheehan, Chief of the Charities Bureau in the Office of the New York State Attorney General, who emphasized the need for a shift from duties to rules and regulations, and Karen Rosa, Vice President and Executive Director at the Altman Foundation. Rosa led a step-by-step guide for nonprofits looking to apply for foundation funding.
The panel discussions garnered the most spirited discussion on the future of New York’s nonprofit sector. In a conversation on developing internal talent, Jeremy Kohomban, Executive Director at Children’s Village, said inside talent is often the best talent.
“We believe there’s a way we approach our work that takes time for anyone that comes to the Children’s Village to understand what we believe, why we believe it,” he said. “We come from a place of conviction that social justice is a big driver in our world. When we look at managers we are looking for people who are inoculated against difficulty of the work.”
John Sanchez, Executive Director for the East Side Settlement House, said the organization works very hard towards a culture of staff development. Succession planning is key component to that, he said.
“One of the things that’s part of everyone’s job description is finding your successor,” he said. “When I ask you to recruit your successor, it’s not a threat. There’s going to be an opportunity because I recognize strengths and you will be rewarded for that.”
External recruiting from social work students has also been very successful, Sanchez added. A number of student interns are usually hired for entry level positions upon graduation.
On the topic of diversity recruiting, Wayne Ho, chief Program and Policy Officer for the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, said diversity plays an important role in hiring.
“Diversity becomes important because if we want to achieve our mission and strategic initiative, we have to keep diversity in mind,” he said. “At our board level, more and more it’s something we’re looking at.”
But Kohomban took a different view.
“I think the easy answer is to say yes, we want diversity…but the reality is we hire for competence and we’re very proud to do so,” he said.
Staff training and development are also critical to a thriving workplace, Kohomban said. For him, “the most powerful training tool is your example.”
“If you have the connection and the energy to set the right example and create a culture that feeds on itself,” he said. “Training is part of the culture, but if the staff finds it a burden, I’ve failed.”
From best hiring practices to best operational practices, Hilda Polanco said she and the panelists hoped the audience would take a new approach to the subject during a panel discussion of operational excellence and sustainability.
“Operational excellence is a way of thinking, a way of behaving and training for improvement,” said Polanco, Founder and CEO of Fiscal Management Associates said. “The training never ends, the coaching never ends in doing what we do the best we can do as the world around us changes. “
Executive Director at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Warren Scharf said nonprofits need to focus on what they do well. Building a team with a diverse skill set is key.
“You can’t do everything…knowing about chlorination in a pool is not the same as figuring out effective treatment for a mentally ill client,” Scharf said of his diverse staff. “People tend to gravitate towards their strengths and stay away from weaknesses, we all do. The biggest risk for all of us is you have to make sure you have someone doing the part you hate to do.”
“Make sure you have somebody who compliments you and is interested in the things you’re not,” he added.
Sam Schaeffer, Executive Director and CEO for the Center for Employment Opportunities, said data management is “critical” for tracking information, both for staff and those the organization serves. The Center for Employment Opportunities offers employment services for people with criminal records.
“It takes constant vigilance and upkeep to onboard new staff and older staff,” he said. “When we hire we’re looking for these competencies. We try to develop screening questions that show us passion for our work and appetite to engage in these conversations.”
And, Schaeffer said, the agency is adapting to a mobile landscape.
“People are coming home form prison, coming into CEO in their first 90 days and they’re on their smart phones,” he said. “It revolutionizes not just how you communicate with them but you feedback. The next revolution is how do we get information to our constituents in a meaningful way and incorporate that.”
Charles Buice, President of the Tiger Foundation, said while the foundation primarily provides costs of operational expenses, targeted funding could be coming down the line for things like technology investment.
“If we can understand through conversations with leadership where they’re finding value in those types of investments, we’re happy to consider would we help put resources out there,” he said. “If that’s what’s going to drive success then that’s what we should tap into.”
Mayor Nutter , shown presenting his budget last week, has traveled to Washington for a conference on youth violence. MEAGHAN POGUE / Staff Photographer
Young people who are not working, not in school, or not participating in a training program are facing risky futures and present serious challenges for American society. Many are likely to join the ranks of the long-term unemployed. Others may be looking at encounters with the criminal justice system.
These are some of the concerns that Mayor Nutter and five other mayors are addressing in a series of meetings on juvenile-justice reform this week in Washington, hosted by the National League of Cities and the MacArthur Foundation.
According to Opportunity Nation, a national bi-partisan think tank seeking to expand youth economic mobility, there are more than 5.8 million U.S. young adults who are either not in school or not employed. A study by the Brookings Institution shows that these numbers have grown in the last decade, especially for youths of color. Data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that about one in four African American youths are actively looking for work but unable to find it.
Here at home, in a cluster of north-central Philadelphia neighborhoods that make up the 22d Police District, the unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds is 38.6 percent. Not surprisingly, this part of our city has some of the highest rates of youth violence.
Police in Philadelphia have a deliberate approach to reduce youth homicides and shootings through smart, strategic law enforcement. They are identifying and analyzing hot-spot crime areas; aligning police, the offices of the district attorney and U.S. attorney, and others to dissuade youth from gun violence; and committing to community policing and outreach.
However, law enforcement alone cannot reduce violence in the long term. We have to address the drivers of youth violence and complement good policing with effective prevention and intervention efforts – most notably helping youths get on the path to employment.
The U.S. Department of Justice created the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention to address the connections among violence, high unemployment, and other ills. Philadelphia became one of the 10 member cities in late 2012. As a result, Nutter, the Stoneleigh Foundation, and key grassroots leaders created the Philadelphia Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative (YVPC), a coalition of more than 100 organizations throughout the city.
YVPC’s focus is on the variable needs of a range of young people. It is trying to develop a safety net of services and policies that address causes of youth violence, including trauma, juvenile detention, unsafe schools, blighted neighborhoods, low educational attainment, and the difficulty of successfully reintegrating into our communities after incarceration. As part of YVPC’s mission to help young people access starter jobs and ultimately the mainstream labor market, the organization is facilitating the funding and implementation of evidence-based jobs programs for at-risk youths.
The city and Greenlight Fund Philadelphia are leading a public/private coalition to create a transitional jobs program this spring aimed at at-risk 18- to 24-year-olds. The program would combine time-limited wage-paid work, job skills training, and support services to help individuals succeed in the workforce. Evidence collected by the National Transitional Jobs Network shows that, even when the labor market is weak, this approach keeps these individuals working and contributes to lowering recidivism, reducing reliance on public benefits, and improving lives. Transitional jobs programming is particularly beneficial for youths who lack prior work experience and need time and practice to learn successful workplace behavior.
This new program will be directed by the New York City-based Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), which works with youths coming out of incarceration or detention, and the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department plans to provide 150 jobs for program participants.
CEO’s plan is to develop a system of referrals from the state parole and community corrections systems, with an emphasis on people from North-Central Philadelphia; immediately place these new workers on crews; offer supports for job readiness and training; and eventually provide placement and retention services to ensure participants get jobs after their transitional work experience ends.
By Yvette Urrea Moe, Staff Writer, County News Center
Getting a job is not an easy venture for most, but especially not for men and women recently released from prison or jail. Adding to the pressure – for some, it is a condition of their release.
“We believe that meaningful and sustainable employment is a key to successful re-entry into the community, and it reduces the number of offenders who continue to commit crimes,” said San Diego County Probation Chief Mack Jenkins.
So Probation teamed up with the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), a program that helps participants gain life skills, education and a job. Probation and CEO first partnered with Chula Vista Parks for transitional employment opportunities in December 2012. In May, Probation and CEO began a new effort with Caltrans to provide more transitional employment to offenders. The County became the first in the state to form a direct working relationship with Caltrans and CEO to put Post-Release Community Supervision offenders to work picking up litter.
Board of Supervisors Chair Dianne Jacob, Jenkins, and top officials from Caltrans and CEO gathered in San Diego Thursday to highlight the innovative new program.
“This promising program is helping us address the ongoing challenge of realignment and recidivism,” said Jacob. “Hopefully, the value of earning a paycheck and putting in a hard day’s work will hit home with these offenders.”
Jenkins said the crews themselves also provide important work around the county. Laurie Berman, Caltrans district director, said litter along the highways is the biggest complaint from motorists. The new partnership not only helps these offenders gain work experience, but it will help keep the highways clean, she said.
Who is Being Helped
If not for this extra help, some offenders would struggle to find employment and could possibly be rejected over and over due to their criminal record.
Jesus Quevedo, 26, was released from state prison and is under Probation’s Post-Release Community Supervision as a result of Public Safety Realignment. With help from the new program, he recently found permanent work with a roofing company. He now plans to make a career of roofing.
“They (CEO) help you look for a job, and while they help you, they employ you three days a week, and that’s a big help,” said Quevedo. “On the other two days, they help get your resume in order. It’s a pretty great program.”
Probationer Charles Miller, 45, is working three days a week on a Caltrans work crew picking up trash along highways as part of the program. He’s also working with a CEO job coach to find a permanent job. Prior to being referred to this program, he was in another live-in program where he was unable to find a job, in part because he had a home curfew of 6 p.m.
“I’m grateful for the chance to be working to tell you the truth,” Miller said. “It’s going really good. They’re trying to help me find a permanent job.”
How the Program Works
Probation officers refer offenders to the highly structured and tightly supervised program as a part of developing a case plan that is designed to meet the offender’s most critical needs, such as unemployment.
CEO focuses on those at high risk and facing the greatest barriers. Nationwide, it has helped place 17,000 offenders in permanent jobs. The nonprofit has already worked with 459 people and placed 187 offenders in permanent jobs in San Diego County, said Bill Heiser, California Director for CEO.
“CEO has a tested and proven program model that has worked across the country to save states money, complement existing workforces with well-trained and highly-qualified workers, and help people coming home from prison to find and stay in good jobs,” Heiser said.
The CEO program enrolls offenders in a five-day employment workshop providing job development and job placement services. Offenders are assigned a job coach to help with resume and interview skills. They are offered transitional employment and assisted in a permanent job search.
Additionally, while in the program, the offenders are still actively supervised by an assigned probation officer, which means they have regular meetings to make sure they are meeting all their conditions for supervision and the objectives of their case plan.
Miller said working on a Caltrans crew means a lot of walking along the freeway but it’s keeping him in shape. He described his job coach as a “blessing” and said she helps keep him motivated and positive. His coach is even helping him get ready for questions about his incarceration from potential employers.
Quevedo said when he was struggling to find a job, he found that most employers would just never call once they saw that he had checked off the felon box on an application. But with the CEO program, the employers already know about it, and that helps considerably, he said.
Probation also partners with Caltrans for a different work crew program which allows probationers to participate in court-mandated community work projects in exchange for jail time.
Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist for the County of San Diego. She highlights emergency management, law enforcement and court public safety programs. Prior to working for the county, she worked as a print journalist for 13 years covering public safety.
On February 2, CEO Binghamton was awarded a $110 donation from students enrolled in the Public Service Learning Community at Hinman College at Binghamton University. Hinman College emphasizes community service and leadership, with this in mind, students participated in the Giving Games during their fall 2014 semester. The Giving Games provides participants, future donors, an opportunity to explore their own values through a discussion centered around philanthropy. The Giving Games was developed by The Life You Can Save organization, founded by Peter Singer and grounded in the Effective Altruism movement aimed at reducing poverty and economic inequality. Students in the Public Service Learning Community were presented with two international and two local organizations and asked to make a decision about who to donate to. Students selected the criteria of which to judge each organization, engaged in thoughtful conversation, and ultimately selected a winner.
The CEO Binghamton office is very honored to have been selected as the winner of the local non-profit organization category. CEO edged out the competition largely due to our use of performance data and our dedication to empowering formerly incarcerated men and women to make a better life for themselves and their families through employment. In particular, the students were impressed by CEO’s use of data to make decisions and to evaluate our progress. Katie Blaine, Participant Services Manager, was joined by Andrew Mitchell, a former CEO Binghamton participant that completed CEO’s job training and placement program with a live job in March of 2014, to accept the award and thank Hinman College students. Katie spoke about what brought her to CEO and focused on CEO’s performance culture. The students then had an opportunity to hear Andrew discuss his experience with CEO as well as hear about his personal triumphs, which include holding a permanent job for over a year and getting off of parole.
The Life You Can Save also made a donation of about $500 dollars to CEO.
In July 2011, CEO Tulsa opened its doors to provide employment assistance to people with recent criminal convictions. CEO’s program of transitional work, full time job placement and retention services create stable homes for our participants and their families. In February 2015, CEO celebrated its 500th placement into un-subsidized, full-time employment. CEO thanks our donors whose support has been vital to our success. George Kaiser Family Foundation, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, Inasmuch Foundation ,Tulsa Area United Way, Flint Family Foundation City of Tulsa, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.
At the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), we work to expand opportunity by providing immediate, effective and comprehensive employment services to men and women returning home from prison. Through a combination of workforce preparation and supervised transitional work experience, our nonprofit helps people regain the skills and confidence they need in order to transition to stable, productive lives. CEO aims to connect individuals to the labor market and reduce the rate of recidivism, thereby strengthening our communities and saving millions of dollars in incarceration costs.
We believe that in today’s economy, we can’t afford to sideline any of our talent. We need everyone who can work to be out on the field, doing their part.
Each day in the United States, 2.2 million people are incarcerated, including a million young Americans under the age of 30. Every year, more than 600,000 people return home from prison. The rate of recidivism is extremely high – more than 60 percent of them will return to prison within five years.
We know that when people return home after incarceration, they face a steeplechase of barriers in connecting to the labor market. Many lack a high school diploma and work experience. Some are struggling to reconnect with family and with other issues such as sobriety and mental health. And the stigma of incarceration makes it hard to even get in the front door of many businesses. The right employment program can help.
We believe that the reauthorized Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which sends about $3 billion a year to states for workforce development initiatives, could allow CEO to access federal resources and scale up our highly-effective program.
CEO has been proven through random assignment evaluation to stop the cycle of recidivism and save taxpayer dollars. Our target population is those people who are at the highest risk for reincarceration, particularly young adults ages 18-25. CEO was founded in NYC and operates in 10 cities across New York, California and Oklahoma. In the coming year will launch new operations in Philadelphia, PA and San Jose, CA.
In all of CEO’s locations, we operate the same model. CEO recruits people who have been recently released from prison who are at the highest risk of recidivism. We begin with a week-long life-skills preparation class that helps people complete a resume, practice interview skills and get ready for their new job. At graduation they are given a pair of steel-toed boots and guaranteed a position on one of CEO’s work crews performing basic labor and maintenance assignments for various public agencies and institutions. Every day, CEO’s crews are cleaning college campuses, buffing floors of public buildings and landscaping outdoor spaces. Participants generally spend 2-3 months working on a crew, gaining work experience, demonstrating their ability to participate in the full-time workforce. Once they are ready, our job developers match them with employment opportunities and each week they are sent out on job interviews until they are hired.
This year, CEO made 2,300 full-time job placements. These jobs reflect the labor market of each local community. In New York City, most jobs were in service and retail sector as well as the construction trades. In Buffalo, NY light manufacturing and food processing jobs were in-demand; and in San Bernadino, California, there was a high demand for logistics work.
Because of CEO, fewer people return to prison and jail and states and communities have more resources to spend on things like education, parks and healthcare. Today, the U.S. spends $64.3 billion on incarceration. That’s a huge amount of money. Studies have shown that CEO’s program not only reduces the rate of recidivism but also to saves money. For every $1 spent on CEO’s program, it saves taxpayers $3.30.
We know there are thousands more who could benefit from our program.
So far, federal workforce investment funds have not been a significant part of CEO’s funding stream. But we hope that could change under the reauthorized WIOA.
CEO can help local Workforce Investment Boards around the country meet the increased requirements for serving disconnected young adults. For the first time, WIOA permits funds to be utilized to pay for transitional work activities. This is a win-win: high-impact programs like CEO can receive support to expand access and meet more of the demand for services, and workforce agencies are positioned meet new federal mandates all while ensuring that every American has the opportunity to find their path to prosperity.
Sam Schaeffer is the executive director and CEO of the Center for Employment Opportunities, a nonprofit that helps adults who have recently been released from prison find jobs. CEO operates programs in New York, California and Oklahoma. CEO joined the Opportunity Nation coalition in 2014.