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Connecticut NAACP launches program to help those formerly incarcerated

Their goal is to help build equity and the economic status of formerly incarcerated people or those with blemishes on their records.

HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut chapter of the NAACP is on a mission here in Connecticut with its One Million Jobs Campaign.

"What we're trying to do is create real opportunities, meaning the NAACP, for individuals to get up, get on track, and get back engaged and getting their lives back on track," said Scot X. Esdaile, CT NAACP President

The goal is to help build equity and the economic status of formerly incarcerated people or those with blemishes on their records. Which is an important goal as seventy million Americans have a criminal record resulting in one and three adults. 

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"America represents only 5% of the world population, and it represents 25% of those incarcerated in the world," explained Dr. Cato T. Laurencin with UConn Health. 

Dr. Laurencin said communities of color make up a large population of that. 

"Incarceration is not just about social economics; we know that incarceration in this country is largely driven by institutionalized racism," Dr. Laurencin said. 

Esdaile said these statistics make their mission all the more vital. "We're striving to get over those barriers in those obstacles and create real, meaningful opportunities for individuals in first-class institutions. "

UConn Health jumped on board Friday, pledging its commitment to help strengthen the pipeline to attainable job opportunities.

"Participating in this initiative, UConn and UConn health will be committed to providing job placement opportunities aligned with support systems to assist with workforce training and long-term retention for these returning citizens," said Amme D'Alleva, Interim Provost and Executive VP, UConn.

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The organizations believe that providing tools, resources, and training will help give those who have once been incarcerated a fair shot as they work to fill 5% of their entry-level job openings. 

"It'll still be a competitive process, but we're hoping that we build the system up well enough so that they can come in and compete realistically," explained Lakeesha Brown, VP of Human Resources, UConn Health.  

Corrie Betts, who's a part of the One Million Jobs Campaign,  said the court system was once a revolving door for him, and because of this, he knows firsthand how vital this campaign is. 

"A prison sentence shouldn't be a life sentence," Betts said passionately. "That feeling of self-worth, they feel as though they are worth something being a part of society, and being able to pay their bills and do all those type things. I think it changes the nearness to what and how people act. 

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The NAACP One Million Job Campaign is a pilot project for the national NAACP. The plan is to take the data and the information and share them with the national Board of Directors for the annual meeting in February in New York City-- to take this project all across the country.

Find out how to get trained and employed here:

Key Steps

1. Visit participating community-based organizations.

2. Get vetted.

3. Find out what training you need.

4. Get training.

5. Complete Pre-Screening/Applications at www.MillionJobsCampaign.com

6. Enter Pool for Interview & Start Hiring Process (also you may obtain an employability certificate).

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


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