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Date:

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Location:

Philadelphia, PA

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Employment for Equity

Employment for Equity

 

On September 15, 2022, The Fortune Society organized the ‘Employment for Equity’ event in partnership with JP Morgan Chase & Co. exclusively for Executive, Human Resource and DEI leadership professionals in Philadelphia to learn more about the benefits of hiring justice-impacted individuals.
Through a full day of presentations and panels, experts and leaders were invited to share best practices and opportunities for hiring this underutilized talent pool.

 

Panels and Speakers

Introductions and Opening Remarks

Jac Rivers

Jac Rivers is a Vice President Program Officer with the J.P. Morgan & Chase (JPMC) Foundation. Based in the Wilmington office, Jac leads the firm’s strategic philanthropic investments in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Southern New Jersey. Jac mobilizes innovative approaches with her team to racial equity and wealth creation for Black and Latino communities. She is responsible for the development, execution, and administration of the Foundation’s grantmaking programs and activities designed to drive economic inclusion by providing more opportunities for homeownership, access to affordable housing, entrepreneurship and bolstering financial health.

Dr. Ronald F. Day

Dr. Ronald F. Day is Vice President of Programs and Research at The Fortune Society. In this role, he provides direct oversight for Fortune’s pre-release and community discharge planning service program, Reentry for Individual Success and Elevation (RISE) and leads the Center for Research, Inquiry and Social Justice (CRIS-J). Ronald is passionate about reentry, promoting desistance, dismantling mass incarceration, and addressing the stigma of incarceration. He previously served as AVP of Fortune’s David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy (DRCPP) and is a former host of Fortune’s original show Both Side of the Bars on Manhattan Neighborhood Network. Ronald is also the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Citizen’s Against Recidivism Bridge Builder Award and the Justice Research Fellowship.

Jeffrey Abramowitz

Jeffrey Abramowitz, J.D. is the new CEO of the Petey Greene Program and previously served as the Executive Director of Justice Partnerships and the Executive Director of Reentry Services for JEVS Human Services. Jeff is a subject matter expert for the US Department of Education, is the Moderator for US Department of Education LINCS (Literacy Information & Communication System, Resource Collection) Community of Practice on Correctional & Reentry Education. Jeff was appointed to the Pennsylvania Reentry Council and serves as Chairman of the Employment Committee and Co-chairs the Reentry Committee for the PA Workforce Development Board. He is also the current Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition.

 

Discussion of Employer Needs and Concerns

John Vining

John Vining is the Director of Human Resources for Brown’s Super Stores, Inc., a twelve-store supermarket chain trading under the ShopRite and Fresh Grocer banners employing 2,000 associates. Under John’s direction, the stores support local community organizations and hire the people living in the neighborhoods they serve, supporting the revitalization of the entire area. Brown’s has been employing Criminal Justice Involved individuals for over 20 years, and many associates have promoted into leadership positions in the company.

Michael Robinson

Michael Robinson, M.S., is a change agent, award-winning corporate leader, university executive, and community activist. He is the Director of Community Outreach and Hiring at Temple University’s Lenfest North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative (LNPWI). He is a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Citizens Academy; Senior Pastor of Greater Enon Missionary Baptist Church – an urban ministry in North Philadelphia; Police Chaplain, Philadelphia Police Department; Board member, Philadelphia Baptist Association. Mr. Robinson received many awards throughout his career including the most recent Industry Icon Award, Philadelphia Inquirer Newspaper, 2017 and was one of the nominees for Human Resources Person of the Year Award, Delaware Valley Human Resources Association, 2016.

 

Highlighting Philly Organizations

Andrea Curtis

Andrea Custis is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Philadelphia. Ms. Custis is responsible for leading the Urban League’s efforts to promote economic empowerment and social justice in the Greater Philadelphia region, including in the areas of Housing, Entrepreneurship, Workforce, Education, and Health & Wellness. Ms. Custis advocates for a number of issues, fair funding for schools, criminal justice reform, community safety and voting.

Maurice Jones

Maurice Jones co-founded and operates People Advancing Reintegration, Inc.’s Recycle Works. Founded in February 2016, PAR has continued to be an innovative movement in workforce development and training for justice-involved people and those reentering society from incarceration. At PAR Recycle Works, they offer environmentally responsible electronics recycling services to school districts, universities, municipalities, businesses, and communities in the Tristate.

 

Building Employment Pathways

Cait Garozzo

Cait Garozzo serves as the Managing Director of the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI). Cait has been a part of Philadelphia workforce development for the past 8 years. Cait’s experience and passion is in designing holistic and responsive programs aimed at preparing people for the modern workforce. Creating sustainable partnerships across organizations and individuals, as well as constantly seeking new opportunities for collaboration are cornerstones of her professional philosophy.

Dr. Ronald F. Day

 

City Agencies Panel Discussion

Assata Thomas

Assata Thomas is the Executive Director of the Office of Reentry Partnerships for the City of Philadelphia. As Executive Director, Ms. Thomas sets a clear vision and direction for a comprehensive citywide approach to improving reentry outcomes, including the development of partnerships to create a citywide network of services that address a variety of social services needs among individuals returning from incarceration with a goal of reducing recidivism. Prior to her appointment as Executive Director, Ms. Thomas served as Chief Community Justice Officer of the Institute for Community Justice (ICJ) and a Chair of the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition. Ms. Thomas is a passionate advocate on behalf of those affected by mass incarceration; and, moreover, having lived through the experience of a felony conviction, is uniquely qualified to speak with credibility and authority to the issues facing all who have been affected by the system.

Pam Superville

Pamela P. Superville is the Ag. Deputy Director at the City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Reentry Partnerships (ORP). She has worked in the field of reentry for over 14 years. As her contribution to reducing recidivism, Ms. Superville has organized, coordinated and managed various types of reentry training programs and workforce development workshops for which she has gained numerous accolades. An impassioned speaker and justice-impacted woman, Ms. Superville consistently advocates against mass-incarceration. She is a dynamic moderator and venerated facilitator who has also tutored classes “behind the walls” for both youth and adults.

Gianna Grossman

Gianna Grossmann is the Senior Director of Workforce Development at the Department of Commerce, City of Philadelphia. She is keenly focused on building partnerships and fostering greater collaboration within the workforce ecosystem to improve the ways the city serves its residents. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Gianna began her career in HR, where she quickly learned about the skills gap in the city’s workforce and developed her passion for workforce development. A self-motivated doer, Gianna is driven by the great potential she sees in Philadelphia, stemming from her deep roots in the city.

 

Legislative and Regulatory Landscape

Councilmember Isaiah Thomas

A 3rd generation Philadelphian, Council Member Thomas grew up in Northwest Philadelphia. Throughout his career, Isaiah has worked in the non-profit, public and private sectors in positions that impact the important issues our city faces. Including the creation of his non-profit organization, The Thomas & Woods Foundation, which provides free summer programs for youth 6-16 years old. Isaiah Thomas is proud to be the highest voter-getter of the newly elected Council members and has brought that enthusiasm with him throughout his first term. With the introduction of historic legislation like the Driving Equality Bill, as well as the Black Worker Matter package and Local Procurement Bill, he has shown his passion for addressing the real issues of Philadelphia Citizens.

Renee Chenault

Renee Chenault Fattah is an Executive Director at the Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) which provides free legal advice and representation to low-income Philadelphia residents whose criminal records are holding them back from achieving their social and career potential. In addition to being a lawyer, Renee is a journalist, having served as the evening and weekday news co-anchor for NBC10 for close to 25 years. She is also a filmmaker, having recently made the documentary ‘In Our Right Mind: Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias’ Impact on Communities of Color.

Jamie Gullen

Jamie Gullen is the Managing Attorney of the Employment Unit at Community Legal Services (CLS), the largest legal aid provider in Philadelphia. Jamie has worked as an Employment attorney at CLS for ten years and specializes in addressing barriers to employment caused by criminal records. Jamie was part of the team that advocated for Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate law. This first-in-the-nation policy has helped over one million Pennsylvanians seal certain kinds of criminal records via an automated process. Jamie also has extensive expertise in the employment and licensing laws that apply to people with records.

Andre Ward

Andre Ward is the Associate Vice President of the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy, where he oversees The Fortune Society’s advocacy efforts to reduce reliance on incarceration, promote model programming for incarcerated people, change laws and policies that create barriers for successful reintegration, and foster a just and equitable criminal justice system. As a Fortune Executive team member, Mr. Ward also helps steer the agency’s overall operation. He is a social worker and longtime advocate and activist for at-risk and vulnerable populations who face barriers to employment and have criminal justice, chemical dependency and/or mental health issues.

 

Pathways into Healthcare Employment

Rev. Dr. Kimmenez

Rev. Dr. Chris Kimmenez is an Executive Director for Healing Communities PA, a faith-based prison reentry and justice transformation initiative. He is a dynamic, sought-after ordained Baptist minister, pastor, chaplain, psychologist, trainer, public speaker, consultant, and a medically retired marine combat veteran from Washington, DC, residing in Philadelphia, PA. Rev. Dr. Kimmenez is also a Founder and President of Recovery Christian Centers Urban Community Development Corporation, a faith-based nonprofit specializing in recovery support, pastoral care and counseling, behavioral health, trauma, capacity building and leadership training. He is a member of the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition Community Engagement Committee and a JustLeadershipUSA Leading with Conviction 2018 Alumni Fellow.

Bryant Green

Bryant is President of BMG Circle of Life, LLC, which owns a multi-franchise unit of Always Best Care Senior Services. Since purchasing the first unit of the franchise in 2010, Bryant has built this non-medical home care and free assisted living placement service into a thriving business that helps dozens of families by providing high-quality care for their loved ones. Bryant finds his current roles as entrepreneur and senior care provider to be particularly rewarding. He is proud to have created new employment opportunities for his growing staff of caregivers and business support personnel. Prior to operating Always Best Care Senior Services, Bryant contributed his leadership and business management skills to various industries, including health care and multimedia technology.

Micaela Linder

Micaela Linder is the Senior Director of Research at The Fortune Society. In this role, she coordinates all research projects to the agency, in addition to cultivating relationships with internal and external partners to grow the capacity of Fortune to conduct research. Prior to her appointment as Senior Director of the Center for Research, Inquiry and Social Justice (CRIS-J), Micaela managed Fortune’s Reentry Education Project and has trained over 1,000 healthcare providers and clinic staff to 1) increase participants’ knowledge of the criminal justice system, experiences of incarceration, and health effects of incarceration; and 2) enhance participants’ ability to communicate compassionately and collaboratively with formerly incarcerated patients.

 

The Importance of Digital Literacy and Opportunities in Tech

Monique Gaillard

Monique Gaillard is a native Philadelphian, currently serving as the Business Development Specialist for Tech Impact. In this role, Monique’s focus is on aiding businesses with building apprenticeship programming into their Human Resource Management plans. Tech Impact is a national Information Technology company on a mission to Leverage Technology for Greater Social Impact. With 17 years of practical experience in social services, community organizing and development, Monique remains committed to building sustainable community connections and sharing resources for the positive development of individuals.

Lindajoy Jackson

Lindajoy Jackson is the Director of Business at Hopeworks Camden, a nonprofit organization that connects young professionals to life-changing opportunities using technology, education, and entrepreneurship. At Hopeworks, Lindajoy oversees the organization’s three Social Enterprises and the Sales and Marketing teams.

 

Nicole Pumphrey

Nikki is a Senior Managing Director at Per Scholars Philadelphia. She is committed to shaping an economy that works for everyone and has dedicated her career to fostering cultural understanding and promoting inclusion through education and workforce development. Nikki has served in strategy roles in both the non-profit and higher education sectors.

 

Carler Dinnold

Carler Dinnold is a Contract Manager at The Fortune Society. She has worked in the non-profit sector for just under ten years, with a specific passion for Criminal Justice and Family impacted social service support. She also currently serves as the Inaugural Executive Director of Lebanon Cares Development Corporation, a Bedford-Stuyvesant community-based organization committed to uplifting the lives of African American community members in Bed-Stuy and the greater Brooklyn borough. Carler is a believer in the strength of data and technology to empower individuals and communities, and commits her time to teaching and providing technological support training to young adults and senior citizens.

Thank you to all attendees and speakers who took part in the event.

We are grateful for your contributions and look forward to continuing working together to improve employment outcomes for justice-impacted Philadelphians.

 

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