Our team worked with Jessica from Career Source Brevard as she guided us through the process of developing a marketing campaign for the RISE Brevard program which assists second chance individuals gain employment. We had 3 goals for this process: First, we surveyed local employers to understand their thoughts and concerns about hiring second chancers. We then decided to develop a marketing toolkit for CSB to use throughout the community. Our final goal was to find an event to educate employers on the local, state and federal programs available to them when hiring second chance individuals.
A second chance individual is someone who has been previously convicted of a crime. There are over 95,000 individuals in the Florida’s prisons with Brevard having an average of 1,689 inmates. CSB prepares individuals who have been convicted of a crime for successful re-entry into the workforce. Their unemployment rate is 5 times higher than the general US population. Other names for second chancers include ex-offenders and justice involved individuals. A statement that stuck out to us was that second chance does not mean second rate. Just because these individuals committed a crime in the past, doesn’t mean we treat them any differently. And now on to Shan.
Brevard Sheriff’s office promotes community partnerships to reduce recidivism and promote safer communities
DIANA We felt we should conduct a survey to establish if there is opposition to hiring a second chance individual, and if so, what are the barriers preventing business from considering this resource. To do this, we conducted a survey of business contacts from Career Source Brevard. (thank you to the LB class for helping us refine the survey). We collected a great deal of data, however, there were two questions that we felt were most telling: From the survey we determined a large percentage (close to half) had already hired a person with a criminal background.
However, of those surveyed, less than 20% were aware of the Federal Bonding Program. This lead us to believe, perhaps we could get additional support through education of available programs such as the Federal Bonding Program.
We set out to have conversations with community members to gain diverse perspectives, concentrating on employers and those who work with second chance individuals. We worked to either connect Career Source Brevard with these individuals or to bring takeaways from these experiences to the team for consideration of this project. Also, the timing of some of our class of 2020 sessions worked out favorably for our topic, particularly the Jail session. The Brevard Jail Complex Tour and speakers enabled us to gain additional insight to the efforts here locally by law enforcement to reduce recidivism.
A couple of us from the team attended an impact project presentation hosted by Leadership Orlando. The Speaker was Jeff Korzenik – he’s the Senior VP & Chief Investment Strategist of Fifth Third Bank. He’s a leading expert on private sector models of the re-employment of ex-offenders. Discussion topics at the event included economic impact, labor force, “ban the box”, employer legal concerns, narratives and more. We walked away with a wealth of information and key points to consider for our deliverables.
We created a two-page rack card as marketing collateral to define the RISE program and highlight the benefits, as well as to debunk any relevant myths or misconceptions.
We included a QR code which will drive readers to a dedicated landing page, where they can find more information. This will also allow us to measure visitor traffic to the website.
Our intent was to create a short marketing testimonial video featuring one employer and employee that participated in RISE. The video will highlight their experiences and the positive impact of the RISE program.
Video production has been delayed due to COVID but we plan on rescheduling for the late summer/fall.
There is a concerted effort and research being done in this area
When we started this project, unemployment was at record lows. However, since the onset of the pandemic, our focus shifted to the benefits to employers and community
DAN So what does all of this mean – It means during this time of economic uncertainty; second chancers will be competing more than ever for a job; the applicant pool is much larger, but employers should be aware of this opportunity. Many Organizations may not be hiring for some time – making this group even more susceptible to recidivism. The work of CSB will become even more important during these economic times.
We believe we delivered on our cause and that we all must continue to develop on these three pillars. educate empower elevate
We need your help, CSB needs your help, and Second Chancers need your help more than ever! Thank you for your time and attention:
Re-entry Intervention resulting
in Successful Employment
1. Introduction of team and project
Leadership Brevard 2020 Project Team
LB 2020 members:
• Katey Benne, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
• Melanie Bradford, Canaveral Port Authority
• Diana Dean-Chapman, Delaware North at Kennedy Space Center
• Dan Kelley, Community Credit Union of Florida
• Meaghan Lawrence, L3Harris
• Andreia McGaw, Project Response
• Shan McMillon, Cocoa Auto Salvage, Inc.
• Neera Miller, Carr, Riggs, and Ingram, LLC
• Ross Smith, Brevard Health Alliance
• Christine Tripp, Eastern Florida State College
• Jessica Mitchell, CareerSource Brevard (LB 2018)
Background: A team of ten Leadership Brevard 2020 class participants
partnered with CareerSource Brevard to develop a marketing campaign
for R.I.S.E. Brevard.
Goal #1: Survey employer audience to understand concerns about hiring
second chance individuals.
Goal #2: Develop compelling marketing collateral to promote program
benefits for Brevard employers and the community, address hiring
concerns, and highlight employer/employee testimonials.
Goal #3: Participate in an event to educate and present information to
community at large.
Who are Second Chance Individuals?
• As of June 30, 2018, Florida’s state prison population was 96,258.
Of this population, 68% were serving for non-violent offenses.
– Brevard daily inmate population average: 1,689
• Approximately 1 in every 35 US adult residents are under some form
of correctional control (in prison or jail or on probation or parole)
• CareerSource Brevard is successfully preparing jobseekers whose
background includes some degree of justice involvement for
successful re-entry to the workforce.
• The unemployment rate for ex-offenders is 5x higher than the
general US population
• Also known as ex-offenders and justice involved
Second chance doesn’t mean Second rate
Why this matters to Brevard employers
Steady Employment of second-chance individuals:
• Increases self-sufficiency
• Creates healthier and safer communities
• Saves taxpayers money
• Reduces recidivism
Benefits to Brevard employers for hiring second-chance individuals:
• Federal Bonding program
• Work Opportunity Tax Credit program
• On-the-job Training program
• Work Experience Program
• Community Education Events
• Gain better understanding of current
Yes No Not sure/Prefer not to answer
Of community leaders’ responses, almost half have
hired second chance individuals…
Q: Have you ever hired an
individual with a criminal
background (in your current
or previous role at any
. . .and less than 20% were familiar with the
Federal Bonding program.
Q: Are you familiar with
any of the following
Interviews / Experiences
• Meeting with Pastor Jarvis and Susan
Kowalski of The Re-entry Center in
• Local employers & employees
– Video interview
• Law & Order session with Sheriff Ivey:
– Jail tour
– Inmate training programs
– Community partnerships
Community Education Events
Things we can do:
• Raise issue in your company
• Organize events to sensitize people
• Provide economic and safety measures
• Offer support mechanisms for these individuals
Let’s change the narrative:
• “Second chance, doesn’t mean second rate”
• Advocates, stop saying “most” offenders are minor violations –
give true statistics and be honest with more serious violations
• “Look to normalize the worst mistake they’ve made in their lives.”
Topic: Developing successful and profitable “second chance” hiring
models for those with criminal records
A vibrant economy creates a willingness on the part of employers
to step outside their comfort zone and consider people with
different backgrounds.” – Jeff Korzenik, Fifth Third Bank
Toolkit for CareerSource:
• Event Planning & Coordination
• Printed Materials
Event Planning & Coordination
SHRM Meeting June 16, 2020 (scheduled)
• Project Overview – PowerPoint with relevant
statistics and information
• Video – Interview of Employer and employee on
the challenges and successes of the work
• Panel Discussion with representatives from Career
Source Brevard, Law Enforcement, Employer of
• Q & A
• Rack Card
• Dedicated landing
page (via QR
• Designed to highlight success cases and
to promote employer/employee benefits
• Name of Employer in video (Jessica)
• Delayed until further notice due to
• One long video (3-4 minutes max)
• CSB could use smaller segments for
Professional Publications & Articles
“Why hiring people with criminal records encourages true diversity” 2/13/20,
Margie G. Johnson, VP of People at Checkr
“Americans with Criminal Records” Poverty in Opportunity Profile by Half in Ten
“Federal Bonding Program Presentation” by Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
“Quick Facts: Workforce Services - Federal Bonding Program”, April 2019 by
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
“How to Help People with Criminal Histories Break Employment Barriers”
10/17/19, Stephanie Francis Ward with SHRM
Breakthroughs Institute Presentation for Brevard County, 9/17/18
Case Study: The Johns Hopkins Hospital Success in Hiring Ex-Offenders
“Center in Cocoa aiding ex-offenders gets $500,000 from state” 1/8/20, J.D.
Gallop of Florida Today
At the start, focus was on low unemployment.
• Current focus on benefits:
• Hiring individuals with “grit” can overcome adversity
• High employee engagement
• Low turnover and loyalty
• Decrease in multi-generational poverty
• Economically it’s a win-win
• Builds workforce for expansion
#Leadership in Action
– Employers on benefits
– Leaders to destigmatize the topic
– Community, hiring ex-offenders is a solution
to an economic problem while reducing
#Leadership in Action
– Bring more awareness to employers
– Available resources mitigate risk to
– Community, Employers, and Employees