- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
Community Fatherhood, New Level Sports push jobs
Question of the Day
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - Walt Whitfield said a criminal background can pin a man into “a very small box” when it comes to the job hunt, but he hopes his new program can stretch those barriers.
Whitfield is the main organizer behind a partnership between Community Fatherhood and New Level Sports that aims to give job skills to those with a past that might be distasteful to employers, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer ( http://bcene.ws/1isrLvo ).
Participants in the program will learn either hospitality skills through a catering program or manufacturing and other skills through a screen-printing and embroidery business. The organizations hope to pilot the program in late May with eight men and expand to 16 men by August, Whitfield said.
Whitfield and other organizers said the program is open to anyone in need of new skills, including young men whose lack of job experience might be a barrier. But the program is geared toward fathers whose criminal backgrounds have made it hard to find a job.
That remains an issue: A survey released last month by Cleveland firm EmployeeScreenIQ found 88 percent of employers disqualify applicants who have felony convictions for violence, 82 percent disqualify applicants for felony convictions related to theft or dishonesty, and 68 percent disqualify applicants for felony drug convictions.
Sometimes even small infractions can cause a problem - 13 percent of employers said even traffic offenses disqualify applicants - and any time served behind bars creates a gap in their work history.
“I had no idea how big a problem this was,” Whitfield said, adding persons of color are disproportionately impacted. “(But) we’re in the business of giving hope.”
It’s an idea that’s been a year in the making, he said.
Whitfield works at Community Fatherhood, which offers parenting classes largely to men court-ordered into the program. There, Whitfield said he heard from more and more men who needed help finding a job because their jail time was a liability.
“These men are fathers,” Whitfield said, “and when you deny these men a chance, you’re unintentionally denying their children, as well . If he’s done his time, he shouldn’t be sentenced to poverty forever.”
So Whitfield and Sean Kennedy, a fatherhood worker at Community Fatherhood, reached out to New Level Sports. That organization, a nonprofit that primarily works with youth in afterschool programs, already had a licensed kitchen on-site. And Whitfield, a former manager at Clara’s on the River, saw an opportunity.
New Level also had Tucker DeCuypere, a 20-year-old Kalamazoo man who attends Faith Assembly Christian Fellowship, the church associated with New Level. He also was a screen-printer, and the church had already asked him to set up a screen-printing business to help generate revenue for the church.
The organizations partnered to bring men in to both train and work in those programs.
Most men will learn cooking, serving, busing and dishwashing skills in the catering program and will gain experience working events catered by the program.
Those “with real fire and interest” will learn the higher-level screen-printing skills, Whitfield said. Men will gain experience in manufacturing a product and in creative skills, and possibly sales experience as participants who show initiative could be asked to help New Level grow the screen-printing business. Men will help fill orders for the business.
TWT Video Picks
President wants everyone but himself to pay more
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- U.S. evacuates embassy in Libya amid violent clashes between militias
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Obama: U.S. should 'embrace an economic patriotism that says we rise or fall together'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- EDITORIAL: Obama's 'economic patriotism' means higher taxes
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq