Events are scheduled in three Iowa cities this week to connect employers with ex-offenders who are looking for work.
Kevin Techau, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, is helping coordinate the free seminars taking place in Cedar Rapids, Fort Dodge, and Sioux City. “The purpose is to get the best information possible out, so employers can evaluate whether an ex-offender would be a good employee for them to hire,” Techau says.
In Iowa, roughly 30 percent of those released from prison end up behind bars again within a few years. Techau says ex-offenders who land a job are much less likely to commit another crime and they’re typically reliable, capable workers. “Offenders, in the federal or state system, are learning valuable skills that help them be marketable employees when they get out,” Techau says.
The federally-sponsored program to be presented across the state this week is titled “Iowa’s Untapped Workforce, a Roadmap for Second Chance Hiring.” The keynote speaker at the seminar in Cedar Rapids will be Arte Nathan, the now retired Senior Vice President for Wynn Resorts and Casinos. “For many years, he hired ex-offenders coming out of the Nevada system,” Techau says. “So, he’s going to talk about his experience and why that was a good fit for his employer.”
Techau says Iowa employers who hire ex-offenders can also qualify for tax credits and federal bonding programs — which provide employers with theft, forgery, larceny, and embezzlement insurance.
The workshops are all scheduled to run from 8:30am to 12:30pm. The Cedar Rapids workshop is on Tuesday (7/26) at the Clarion Hotel. Workshops will also be held on Wednesday (7/27) in Fort Dodge at the Best Western Starlite Village and Thursday (7/28) in Sioux City Bev’s On the River.