About 2,500 people return home to Monroe County every year from prisons and jails.

There is an urgent need to create a comprehensive, coordinated, and adequately funded local system of reentry that will fill gaps in service, enhance public safety, and reduce recidivism. The Reentry Association of Western NY (RAWNY) in partnership with other reentry stakeholder organizations, seeks to utilize the experience and skills of its members and Board of Directors to create a Reentry Continuum of Care that serves men and women returning to Monroe County from every level—local jails, state prisons, federal detention, and the OCFS system.

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Five Easy Pieces

Five specific areas have a profound affect on someone’s ability to reenter the community and make a secure, law-abiding life for themselves...(click here)

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Please welcome the City of Rochester's OFFICE OF NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY (ONS), Dr. Kiah Nyame, Coordinator. ONS Builds and strengthen community partnerships and advance and supports initiatives that promote greater neighborhood and community-well-being. As such, they are a perfect partner to our mission at RAWNY. Dr. Nyame, as part of this initiative is overseeing the Peacemakers Fellowship. Peacemakers is an anti-violence program that has shown success in more than 20 cities across the country. You can read more about it on the City's website.

Employers consider open hiring as labor shortage looms

By Beth Adams

Widespread worker shortages have more local business owners considering a concept known as open hiring.

The open hiring model does away with interviews, background checks, drug tests and other traditional screening methods.

“I think it has opened up their eyes that maybe they need to look at their hiring practices and think of other innovative ways they can get people into the door for their open positions,” said Mubarak Bashir, director of the Greyston Center for Open Hiring of Rochester.

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  • The Bonduelle frozen food packaging facility in Brockport is now recruiting entry-level workers through an open hiring process.

The Rochester center was the second center established in the U.S. outside of Yonkers, where the Greyston Bakery first partnered with the Zen Community of New York to find work for students who were otherwise considered unemployable due to their lack of experience or criminal records.

In the last year, Bashir believes the lack of workers, especially in entry-level positions, has made the open hiring concept more appealing to employers who may have not considered it before.

“I started out doing a lot of cold calling of businesses, and now, as we come up on a year of me doing this work with Greyston,” Bashir said, “some businesses have reached out to me.”

Six Rochester-area companies have already adopted the practice or have made a commitment to test it.

Bonduelle, a frozen food packaging plant in Brockport, is one of the latest.

“It gives us that opportunity to be a good corporate citizen and face some of those social challenges that are out there by reducing some of those barriers that some people have had to access employment opportunities in the past,” said Janice Jones, the international company’s U.S. director of human resources.

Jones says company leaders, headquartered in France, learned about the open hiring model while exploring a B-Corp certification, a designation that highlights a company’s dedication to profit with a purpose.

She said open hiring fits in with the corporate goal of diversity and inclusion.

The Brockport facility employs about 175 mostly full-time workers and 20 seasonal workers from Puerto Rico.

Starting this week, as entry-level packaging and warehouse positions open up, job applicants will be chosen through open hiring.

As it does with other companies that take on new employees through open hiring, the Greyston Center will provide on-site wraparound services such as transportation, housing and mental health to help new and current workers succeed at their jobs.

“Which is why Rochester is such a great place for us to start this process and this journey,” Jones said, “because we have that support and experience right here in Rochester.”

If the pilot program goes smoothly in Brockport, Bonduelle plans to eventually expand open hiring throughout its U.S. operations in New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Other local companies that are participating in open hiring include CleanCraft, Baldwin Richardson Foods, Buckingham Commercial Cleaning, Stamp Paints, and Zweigle’s.

Bashir’s goal is to recruit some larger companies in the next six to 12 months.

“We feel that that will get us a large number of our community members access to employment that are typically screened out of positions,” he said.

Eventually, Bashir said, the center wants to host a community roundtable where businesses that use opening hiring can share and compare their best practices.

Beth Adams is a reporter for WXXI News, a media partner of CITY.


The JUDICIAL PROCESS COMMISSION is moving and co-locating with partners Exercise Express and WISH, University of Rochester to DANFORTH COMMUNITY CENTER, 200 WEST AVENUE, 2nd Floor, RTS BUS # 18, SAME PHONE NUMBER, 585-325-7727.  JPC will be CLOSED Wednesday, JULY 28th and RE-OPENS THURSDAY, AUGUST 5th.Use the mailbox at 1921 Norton for document drop off thru Sat. July 31. Zoom New Journey support group continues. During the move phone messages will be returned within 24 hours.

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