CSRWire – RBIJ Launches Program to Divert At-Risk Youth From Criminal Justice Involvement Through New First Chance Hiring Network


Posted 12 hours ago

Proposed by Responsible Business for Justice Initiative

AUSTIN, Texas, March 11, 2022 /CSRwire/ — The Responsible Business Initiative for Justice has announced a groundbreaking program made possible by walmart (via the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity) which aims to combat economic immobility at the source – by providing meaningful and long-term career opportunities for young people at high risk of criminal justice involvement. In doing so, they aim to advance racial equity, keep young people out of the criminal justice system, and help create the business leaders of tomorrow. They call on other companies to join this effort.

the Unleash the potential program, launched at South by Southwest Festivalwill bring together major U.S. employers to use hiring and other resources to give vulnerable youth and young adults economic opportunity — and provide more on-ramps to help them reach their full potential.

The Aspen Institute Opportunity Youth Forum defines the 4.4 million “youth of opportunity” in America as young people who are not working or in school, and much more likely to experience negative consequences like poverty and incarceration. By opening up opportunities for these young people, employers can support economic mobility and help prevent the involvement of the justice system. It will also allow them to tap into a large, diverse and underutilized talent pool. In the current hiring shortage, this is the one they urgently need.

Unlock Potential identified four key groups of young people at risk aged 16-24 who are out of school and unemployed, to recruit. To begin with, they will seek to help those who have experienced:

  1. The juvenile justice system
  2. An incarcerated parent
  3. Sex or human trafficking
  4. Host family

Walmart’s support of Unlock Potential is part of the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity building national networks to launch criminal justice prevention initiatives in communities across the country.

“We need to be more intentional about creating meaningful opportunities for at-risk youth so that we can break the cycle of incarceration for these groups of young people, especially young black adults,” said Marvin Carr, Director, Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity. “The Unlock Potential program adds to a network of community leaders, nonprofits, and policymakers working together to advance criminal justice prevention initiatives, made possible by the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity .”

In its initial phase, Unlock Potential will conduct a three-month project design that will bring together key employers, potential applicants from the above groups, and community support partners. Using the research gained from the first phase, he will design an evidence-based program that identifies and supports potential employees while teaching employers how to hire, support and retain them effectively. Célia Ouellette, CEO of the RBIJ Explain :

“Corporations have an existential responsibility to engage with social issues such as race and justice. By hiring and training at-risk youth, they can interrupt destructive cycles of unemployment and state incarceration. Unleashing potential will not only make our businesses more successful and diverse – our communities more secure – it will grow the next generation of leaders.It’s something I’m very excited to be a part of.

To ensure hires are effectively identified, onboarded, and receive holistic support throughout the process, the program will connect participating employers with local service providers – facilitated by Persevere, a national nonprofit partner and Unlock Potential.

“We are proud to partner with the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity and step into this collaborative space with RBIJ to support at-risk youth in our community,” said Sean Hosmanthe Founder of Persevere, who built the organization out of his own experience as a former offender and his desire to help others. “By meeting our young people before they have had a chance to make mistakes that will have a lifelong impact, we can potentially save generations from the cycle of the criminal justice system.”

To learn more about the program and how you can get involved, please visit www.unlock-potential.org.

Note to editors:
For more information, please contact Ben Cumming (Director of Communications, Responsible Business Initiative for Justice):
[email protected]
+44 7891551514 / +1 213 370 0222

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The Responsible Business Initiative for Justice (RBIJ) works with businesses to advocate for fairness, equality and efficiency in all punishment and incarceration systems.

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