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A loyal reader saw Racy's post this morning and sent links to two brand new reports on prisoner re-entry that were issued today by the Urban Institute: Life After Lockup (http://www.urban.org/publications/411660.html ) and The Jail Administrator's Toolkit for Reentry (http://www.urban.org/publications/411661.html ).

Among the authors' recommendations: Jails should permit workforce development agencies to offer employment services to inmates. The report includes examples of programs where these (and many other) kinds of partnerships have been successful.

Jonathan Harrison

At Rubicon Programs and Rubicon National Social Innovations, we are applying a two pronged approach to re-entry strategies-- using both innovative workforce solutions to place workers ( we operate One Stop Centers in three locations) as well as addressing the lack of opportunities for formerly incarcerated by creating the jobs directly-- we start and run market-based social businesses whose sole purpose is to employ those least able to get into the workforce and provide a solid career ladder.

Since 1973 Rubicon has created innovative employment solutions, most notably creating social purpose businesses that bring jobs, training and supportive services. Rubicon Landscape and Rubicon Bakery have been models of what social enterprise can be: Market driven businesses that hire people others won’t, that provide training for people ready to change their lives and businesses that provide value to their customers. Rubicon Bakery works with many of Americas leading food retailers and provides great products for the customers who buy Rubicon’s desserts and confections. Rubicon Landscape works with construction companies, commercial real estate property managers, government agencies and others to provide high quality, ecologically sensitive landscape services.

Rubicon is now launching a new generation of social enterprise: Rubicon National Social Innovations- a business development arm that will operate social enterprises on a national scale to leverage the lessons learned from running businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are currently soliciting and exploring promising social business models across the country which have the business structure to scale to multiple sites throughout the United States,have high labor requirements, and have the potential to work with local re-entry and workforce programs

Please contact us for more information and to share your ideas with us.

Jonathan Harrison, Director


Find more on Rubicon National Social Innovations at http://www.rubiconprograms.org/nationalsocialinnovations.html


Thanks for all the info on Rubicon, Jonathan, and for the link. I like the way the social enterprise model combines workforce and economic development - helping ex-offenders find work by creating new jobs (and new wealth?) in the community.

Thanks for the comments. For readers who have not had the pleasure, Rubicon Bakery makes WONDERFUL baked goods. I have always had great respect for Rubicon Programs.

In speaking with someone from the Building and Construction Trades Council yesterday, he mentioned that in the trades the laborers, roofers, and machinists seem to employ more ex-offenders.


I've found considerable success with different strategies. First, the exoffender needs to target small to medium sized business. Usually the owner or the senior manager is present on site. These smaller businesses aren't as innodated with policies and procedures that address the challenged population. Also, if the owner or senior manager is on site, the exoffender can offer "free labor" for a period of time to demonstrate his/ her worth.


Thanks, Roger. Great points.

I'm curious about offering free labor - are there any potential legal or other issues with that? I'd hate to see someone take advantage of an ex-offender who's doing everything he or she can to get a job.

Racy Ming

Thanks for the comments Roger. Your suggestion of a "trial period" of free labor would work well with WIA funded OJTs. I heard an interesting suggestion at the CWA spring conference - the employment counselor can promise the employer a flat rate for the on the job training with a good faith promise to hire the job seeker. Traditionally WIA OJT's have been paid based on wages for a certain length of time, but I think the flat rate is a nice way to make the dollars go further. Bringing in something like an OJT or paid work experience might meet Bronwyn's concerns about exploitation.

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