(Brentwood. NY-March 28, 2013) On March 25th, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, the Suffolk County Department of Labor and the Suffolk County Re-Entry Task Force held the first of its kind Re-Entry Job Fair at Suffolk Community College. Over 200 participants attended the job fair and over 14 companies were represented. In addition, 20 not-for-profits were represented to provide information about resources available and services they offer.
“With my appointment of Deputy Police Commissioner Risco Mention-Lewis last year, Suffolk County has made a commitment to break the cycle of recidivism,” said County Executive Steve Bellone. “One of the major components to breaking the cycle for repeat offenders is to ensure they are prepared and have sustainable employment. This first of its kind job fair sponsored by Suffolk County is opening the doors to the ex-offender community and allowing potential employers access to an employable pool of personnel.”
The Re-Entry job fair also hosted career preparation seminars, workshops and discussion groups including: Interviewing Skills, Resume Development, and Employment Incentive Information. One of the highlights of the event was the success stories shared by ex-offenders. The stories of the ex-offenders were compelling and inspiring as they talked about their pursuits of higher education and their desire to turn their lives around. Many spoke about the need to have a positive support network to help them through the process of returning to a productive life as an upstanding citizen.
One of the participating companies shared with the Department of Labor, “I was very glad I attended Monday’s event. I am hoping to be able to employ at least a few of the candidates now, and possibly more individuals in the same circumstance, in the future.” Thank you for the opportunity,” Thomas Humphreys.
Suffolk County plans to host the Re-Entry job fair at least once a year but based on responses from employment companies and participants will consider more frequent Re-Entry job fairs.
(Kirk Cronk, Director–Business Services Labor Unit, Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing & Consumer Affairs, Bumi Ojo-HALO Network representative, Bob Simmons, HALO Network representative)