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If it were simply a matter of introducing employers to job applicants, we wouldn't be where are today - employers struggling to find hardworking and loyal employees, and ex-offenders facing down huge unemployment rates - and there wouldn't be a need for Opportunity.

Real work needs to be done to bring these two groups together; in alleviating common concerns about employing someone with a criminal past, in making sure to select those who are truly rehabilitated, and to prepare those same employees with the know-how to re-adapt and succeed.

WHAT WE DO

  • Opportunity Oregon works with Oregon companies to find who they need, and helps open them up to the benefits of hiring the previously incarcerated.

  • We have ongoing contact with the Oregon prison system, and they send us the most deserving and accomplished people - the ones we know will succeed.

  • We interview and select those who would be the best fit - putting them through basic skills and re-integration training, and then placing them with Oregon employers.

WHY IT NEEDS TO BE DONE

  • 70 million Americans (1/3 of the workforce) have a criminal record. Of those, nearly 20 million have a felony.

  • Ex-felons make up 9.5% of the workforce (about 1 in every 11 workers), and are 3-5 times more likely to be unemployed (27% unemployment)

  • 700,000 are released each year, and even more now because of COVID and recent legislation that has reduced the sentence lengths for non-violent offenders.

  • 80-90% of employers would hire someone with other typical stigmatizing characteristics (little to no experience, lengthy unemployment, poor job history) that typically contribute to poor work performance and reduced retention. However, only 40% state they would consider ex-felons, and of that 40%, a much smaller percentage actually hire the formerly incarcerated.

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