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by: 8NewsNow staff

Posted:  Updated: 

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — They’re reconnecting formerly incarcerated people with Nevada’s workforce. The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and Hope for Prisoners kicked off the “Month of Second Chances” with a virtual webinar.

The event’s focus was on how graduates from the Hope for Prisoners program can regain sustainable employment.

The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) is just one example of how the program works. The agency shared their unique experience after hiring two team members.

“We hired two individuals ourselves here in DETR from Jon’s program. One was in our director’s office; she was administrative assistant to the director, and that’s a very important position because you are the face of DETR when someone walks in the director’s office,” recounted Ron Fletcher, chief of field operations for DETR. “That woman was absolutely a model employee. I can say that the two we hired, they weren’t great, they were model. I wished that every employee that worked for us could replicate the personal attributes that those two had.”

Jon Ponder, president and CEO of Hope for Prisoners, talked how his initiative has helped not only graduates, but local companies across the valley.

“When you hire someone from Hope for Prisoners, you’re not just hiring them, you’re hiring this entire army of people that are gonna be with them over the next 18 months to make sure that once they get inside your workplace, you know, our goal is to make sure that they are there soaring like superstars,” Ponder explained, “because their success within those businesses are gonna open up the doors for the next folks that are gonna be coming through.”

Employers that hire formerly incarcerated people may be eligible for the work opportunity tax credit. Companies interested in hiring can click here.