The Center for Employment Opportunities, which helps former prisoners get jobs, has participated in “pay for success” efforts.
APRIL 28, 2015
By Nicole Wallace
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado are trying again to advance legislation that would appropriate $300 million for state and local social-impact bonds over 10 years.
Although similar legislation stalled in the previous session of Congress, Mr. Hatch now has more clout to push the bill; he became chairman of the Finance Committee when the Republicans took control of the Senate earlier this year.
Sometimes referred to as pay-for-success contracts, social-impact bonds are designed to help government shift from reimbursing nonprofits for the number of people they serve to paying for measurable results. The idea has gained traction quickly, but some critics argue that the potential benefits have been overstated.
The new form of financing allows private investors to pay for a social program that has performance goals, such as reducing the number of teenage pregnancies. If an independent evaluator certifies that the program has met the goals, the government repays the investors’ principal and, depending on the results, may provide a profit. If the program fails to deliver, investors lose their money.
“These public-private partnerships represent a shift to a model of government where results matter and where we pay for competence,” Mr. Bennet said in a written statement. “Supporting targeted early interventions will help improve outcomes in health care, education, job training, child care, homelessness, and a range of other government services.”
Rep. Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana, introduced a similar bill in the House of Representatives in March. That bill also has bipartisan support, including from Democratic Reps. John Delaney and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. Mr. Van Hollen is the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.
Mr. Hatch said in a statement that his bill, titled the Social Impact Partnership Act, would spur innovation and cooperation between the public and private sectors and improve social and public-health programs.
He added: “This bill will keep control in hands of local leaders, reduce the federal bureaucracy, and help improve outcomes for those who use the services and the taxpayers that pay for them.”
Read more: https://philanthropy.com/article/Bill-to-Promote-Social-Impact/229743
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.
|Written by Remy Tumin
|Wednesday, 11 March 2015 04:37
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.”
Read more: http://www.nynp.biz/index.php/this-months-feature/24504-better-business-bureau-convenes-nonprofit-thought-leaders
Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 1:08 AM
By Richard Greenwald
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.
This public/private partnership model can provide the youths who are most disconnected from the mainstream with opportunities, connections, relationships, and experiences that lead to long-term employment. Through this transitional jobs program and other initiatives, we expect to add 200 jobs for at-risk youths this spring. This will boost the participants, but also help Philadelphia continue to become a safer city.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/inquirer/20150310_Curb_violence_by_finding_jobs_for_city_youths.html#1sMGTDqr9oIUqgYF.99
|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.
Read more: http://www.corrections.com/news/article/39088-jobs-program-gets-probationers-on-the-right-road
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.