Wilmington Second Chance Employment Collaborative

On March 18, The Wilmington Alliance and JPMorgan Chase launched the Second Chance Employment Collaborative. The Collaborative will provide justice-involved individuals with legal aid and workforce development resources to connect them with in-demand and stable jobs. It will also work directly with employers and connect people with arrest and conviction records with digital skills assessment and training, career coaching and mentorship, as well as apprenticeships for hands-on jobs training.

The Collaborative brings together Wilmington Alliance, Delaware Volunteer Legal Services, Wilmington HOPE Commission, Delaware Center for Justice and Project New Start and has received a $1M philanthropic investment over two years from JPMorgan Chase.

JPMorgan Chase has been expanding its efforts to give people across the country a second chance by broadening its own candidate pool, including people with criminal backgrounds, advocating for policies that help remove barriers to employment for these individuals, and investing in community organizations that help support skills training across the U.S. JPMorgan Chase has “banned the box” to increase the access of people with criminal backgrounds to jobs at the firm, by ensuring qualified applicants with criminal backgrounds receive the same consideration as any other applicant when their background has no bearing on job requirements.

Working together, the Collaborative brings expertise and dedicated services for justice-involved individuals from end-to-end: 

  • With its longstanding work in local workforce development, Wilmington Alliance will serve as the facilitating agency, helping to connect neighborhoods, businesses, and nonprofits, and will engage stakeholders in creating a systemic approach that aligns resources to create accessible pathways and comprehensive support services. 
  • Delaware Volunteer Legal Services will develop a process for screening individuals for employment eligibility, expungement and sealing of non-convictions and convictions and FDIC waivers. This includes developing trainings, filing petitions, providing representation, and developing a pipeline to workforce training for screened individuals. 
  • Building on their success and expertise serving individuals navigating reentry, the Wilmington HOPE Commission, Project New Start, and Delaware Center for Justice will directly expand their services to support the upskilling of 100 participants. They will update the current curriculum to expand digital literacy skills development. 

Participants will be identified from a network of sources to join the Second Chance Employment Collaborative in their journey toward employment. The participants will then be supported in reaching the next step on their path, whether that’s skills training, apprenticeship, or full-time employment. The participant experience has been built to include: 

  • Criminal screening results, coaching toward solutions, and help to reduce the barriers of legal and processing fees.
  • In-person and virtual digital skills assessment and training for the basic computer skills needed for success on any job site.
  • Career coaching and mentorship including mock interviews, resume building, skills assessments, and wraparound services and support.
  • Apprenticeships, further training, and employment opportunities.

The Collaborative aims to increase access to technology and improve proficiency in digital literacy skills that are often a significant barrier to accessing key services, supports, and training. The Wilmington Alliance has secured 120 new laptop devices to support the collaborative partners in offering digital skills training, expungement, and waiver processes—especially important in a COVID environment.

 Over two years, the Collaborative has goals to screen 300 justice-involved individuals and have at least 50 of them complete the process to get placed into full-time employment opportunities with career potential. To stay updated on the progress of the Second Chance Employment Collaborative, click here.

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