MDOC, MDOL Partnering to Help Inmates Reenter Employment Bookmark and Share

October 10, 2019


WINDHAM-Maine's Department of Corrections (MDOC) and Department of Labor (MDOL) partnered for the third time to offer employers an informative seminar about the role MDOC can play in helping develop their future workforce.

The second Helping Inmates Reenter Employment (H.I.R.E.) ME seminar took place at the Southern Maine Women's Reentry Center in Windham, and then the Maine Correctional Center, on Wednesday, Oct. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"During this record time of low unemployment, employers are searching for skilled workers. Now is the perfect time to showcase the skills that formerly incarcerated Mainers can bring to the workforce," said Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman. "The H.I.R.E. ME seminar continues to be a great way for employers to hear from other employers about their experiences hiring formerly incarcerated workers, and the benefits that come with it. During this free half-day seminar, around 60 employers:

  • Heard the experiences of companies that work with justice involved individuals.

  • Learned about setting up training programs for individuals currently incarcerated.

  • Learned about tax credits and incentives for hiring this population.

  • Heard from offenders currently studying for careers in Maine industry.

Today was about breaking down barriers, said Corrections Commissioner Randall A. Liberty. It was about rewriting misconceptions employers have about justice involvement. The employers bore witness to the fortitude of a motivated and skilled future workforce. They saw first-hand the value of rehabilitation.

"It's been a tremendous success," Christine Fox of Nappi Distributors said during the first panel of the day, about hiring those on work release at the Southern Maine Women's Reentry Center. "They add so much value to our organization."

The Department of Corrections works to reduce the likelihood that juvenile and adult offenders will re-offend, by providing practices, programs and services which are evidence-based and which hold the offenders accountable, while ensuring public safety.

Job seekers with a criminal history are encouraged to visit their closest Maine CareerCenter for job search assistance. CareerCenters work directly with employers that are interested in this audience. Employers should contact the Business Services representative at a CareerCenter for assistance.

The Department of Labor's Bureau of Employment Services provides a variety of employment and training services for Maine workers, businesses and job seekers through the Maine CareerCenter network. The Department of Labor is an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available to individuals upon request.

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