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Courts and Crime

Cleveland woman honored for work finding work for people with records
White House panel will focus on re-entry programs

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
About two-thirds of the clients of Towards Employment have some criminal records.
Courtesy of Towards Employment
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A Cleveland woman will be among the dozen “Champions of Change” honored at the White House today for helping people with criminal records re-enter society. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more.

LISTEN: Towards Employment

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Jill Rizika is executive director of a 38-year-old agency called “Towards Employment.” Last year, it placed more than 500 people in jobs – two-thirds of them with criminal backgrounds.

The agency provides training, but Rizika says it sees  itself with essentially two types of clients:  People who want work and those who may be willing to hire them. And she says she’s finding a greater number of employers are willing to consider people with criminal records.

“The fact that so many people are touched with this issue – I think it’s one in 100 Ohioans have had some involvement with the criminal justice system – there’s a recognition that you need to look at individualized consideration. Otherwise, you’re shutting out such a huge pool of human resources that it really doesn’t serve anybody. “ 

Towards Employment has doubled the number of people with records that it places each year.

The event at the White House includes a panel discussion with Attorney General Eric Holder, who’s championing re-entry efforts, and a speech by Piper Kerman, who wrote Orange is the New Black.


Listener Comments:

This agency is so fundamental in the approach it has taken with changing lives. The pride and hope that is witnessed on the faces of the graduates of the program is awesome to see.
Congratulations Towards Employment

Posted by: S. Shepard (Cleveland) on July 1, 2014 7:07AM
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