Workforce Development Impact Team Launches Fair Chance Employer Badge on Pipeline AZ

May 1, 2024
Jobs & Economy TeamNews and Announcements

Valley Leadership’s Workforce Development Impact Team is excited to announce the launch of the Fair Chance Employer Badge on Pipeline AZ’s job career development platform. The platform, which connects job seekers and potential employers, now gives employers the opportunity to further highlight their work in the fair chance hiring space by applying for and displaying the badge on their Pipeline AZ profile.

The badge was first created by the Workforce Development Impact Team two years ago as a way to help increase the number of people with justice involved backgrounds who are able to enter the workforce. It allows employers to highlight their fair chance hiring practices so that these job seekers are able to more easily connect with employers who are open to and willing to give them a chance for meaningful employment post-incarceration. 

“Pipeline AZ proudly partnered with Valley Leadership to unveil the ‘Fair Chance’ Employer Badge to empower those released from incarceration. At Pipeline AZ, we grow awareness and access to opportunity and this initiative embodies our commitment to equity and transformation.”

– Amber Smith, the CEO of Pipeline AZ

Not only did the team develop the Fair Chance Employer Badge, but they also worked with Arouet, one of the team’s strategic partners, to support its Fair Chance Employer Handbook.  The Handbook provides practical tools and best practices for employers embarking on or seeking to strengthen their recruitment efforts of justice-involved individuals. It also prompts employers to consider how to integrate potential new hires into their existing workforce to maximize success all the way around.  Collaborating closely, the team contributed to editing and promoting the Handbook to ensure its impact has a broad reach with meaningful outcomes.

 “I enthusiastically endorse Pipeline AZ’s Fair Chance Work Badge program. This program resonates with Arouet’s dedication to inclusivity and creating opportunities. We have witnessed the transformative impact of providing individuals with a fair chance, and we firmly believe in this program’s potential to enhance our community. We honor the Fair Chance employers who are making significant strides and are unwavering in their commitment to improving opportunities for Fair Chance job seekers. Their unwavering dedication is instrumental in fostering an inclusive, vibrant workforce in Arizona. With them our future is bright!”

– Alison Rapping, CEO, Arouet

Since the Workforce Development Impact Team was developed in 2019, it has been dedicated to bolstering the workforce in Arizona, especially in high demand sectors. Initially formed to connect educational partners and workforce entities, the team  pivoted to address pathways for vulnerable populations to enter the workforce, particularly justice-impacted individuals. As the team took shape, they collaborated with ASU to compile an Employer Consensus Report shedding light on the challenges and opportunities for this population in Arizona’s workforce.

The statistics were stark. There are approximately 14,000 individuals released from incarceration each year in Arizona, and they struggle to find meaningful employment due to their justice involved background. The team recognized the urgent need for interventions for this population to support reintegration back into society and connection to meaningful and lasting career opportunities.

“Working with the Workforce Development Impact Team has been both meaningful and humbling as we set out to create connections and workforce opportunities between employers and individuals reengaging with society post-incarceration. Learning about the tremendous barriers to secure employment from those with lived experience, or from employers who have embarked on the journey to embrace those with justice involved backgrounds, has been so powerful. This is just the beginning of very important work; there is more to do and our team is dedicated to continuing the effort to strengthen the overall workforce within the Valley.” 

– Melanie Burm, the Workforce Development Team Lead

Moving forward, the Workforce Development Impact Team aims to expand the reach and impact of the Fair Chance Employer Badge. Through collaboration with community leaders and organizations, the goal is to implement the badge across various sectors, facilitating connections between employers and justice-impacted individuals.

By increasing the awareness and conversation around the importance of fair chance hiring practices, Arizona can proactively create more opportunities for justice-impacted individuals and promote access and equity within the workforce. This commitment reflects the team’s perspective that individuals are more than their past mistakes, and by providing opportunities for reintegration and career advancement, we can all contribute to a more inclusive and prosperous Arizona.

Are you looking for ways you can show your commitment to fair chance employment? Learn more about the Fair Chance Employer Badge and how your organization can take the first steps to provide opportunities for justice-impacted individuals today.

Thank you to Molina Healthcare for sponsoring this team and important work.