Joseph Kenner, CEO of Greyston Bakery, will take the stage at 3BL Media’s Brands Taking Stands Summit today to announce Greyston’s participation in Unlock Potential (UP) – a Walmart-funded intentional hiring program that is designed to prevent incarceration by providing meaningful career opportunities for young people at the greatest risk of justice system involvement. Kenner states:
“Unlock Potential will allow Greyston to showcase how we have been unlocking human potential these last 40 years through our Open Hiring® process at Greyston Bakery and our inclusive employment practices at Greyston Foundation. By creating job opportunities with real pathways for advancement we can ensure these young people get the life chances they deserve.”
He will be joined by Dr. Marvin Carr, Director of the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity, and Celia Ouellette, founder of the Responsible Business Initiative for Justice (RBIJ), the non-profit behind the program. They will announce the U.S. locations and the community-based organizations (CBOs) that employers will be partnered with, following the conclusion of the design phase of UP’s pilot program.
Dr. Carr writes: “We are thrilled to move into the next phase of this exciting and unique initiative. We know that employment is critical in preventing people from falling into our justice system. By expanding the positive choices available to opportunity youth – who are at the greatest risk of incarceration, and overwhelmingly people of color – we can increase economic mobility, advance racial equity, prevent crime, and grow the next generation of corporate leaders.”
The pilot program will be kicking off with the following employers planning to hire in the following locations:
● Sam’s Club in Dallas and Houston, TX
● Greyston in Yonkers, NY
● Ben & Jerry’s in Atlanta, GA and Nashville, TN
● American Family Insurance in Atlanta, GA
● Delta Air Lines in Atlanta, GA
● Goodwill Columbus and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH
The efforts of the UP pilot program aim to break the cycle of incarceration by providing meaningful employment opportunities with wraparound support is a collaborative partnership between national non-profit Persevere and RBIJ.
Persevere founder Sean Hosman explains: “By building a holistic approach to workforce development through cross-sector partnerships between businesses and CBOs, and with the right supports, resources, and social capital, we can build a talent pipeline that replaces the prison pipeline and increase racially equitable employment opportunities for a group of young people who are statistically at greater risk of justice system involvement.”
Partnering CBOs include Alliance for Community Assistance Ministries (Houston, TX), Girls Embracing Mothers (Dallas, TX), Monroe Harding (Nashville, TN), Neighborhood Christian Services (Memphis, TN), and Urban League of Atlanta (Atlanta, GA). Candidates will include 16-24-year-olds who have experienced one or more of the following: the juvenile justice system; an incarcerated parent; foster care; and sex or human trafficking.