BALTIMORE - Four Baltimore area businesses will be honored for their commitment to the successful employment of ex-offenders at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation Employer Appreciation Breakfast on Tuesday, December 14, 2004, at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. In addition, two ex-offenders will be recognized for their outstanding personal and professional achievement.
Employers receiving awards include Carroll Custom Builders, CG Brown Organization/McDonald’s, Packaging Strategies and P.A.P.A. Auto Parts. Individuals being recognized are Alfreda Robinson and Larry Matthews.
“With more than 9,500 ex-offenders leaving prisons and returning to Baltimore City each year, it is essential that we work together to help these men and women successfully re-integrate back into the community,” said Baltimore City Mayor Martin O’Malley. “This is not just a public safety concern. It is vital to our community strength and economic vitality, and it cannot be ignored. Jobs, education and community support are the way to break the cycle.”
United States Senator Barbara Mikulski worked to secure funding for Baltimore City’s Ex-offender Initiative. The fiscal year 2005 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which passed the Senate on Nov. 20, 2004, includes $446,400 for the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, the Enterprise Foundation’s Re-Entry Partnership program and Project Bridge to help ex-offenders find employment, transitional housing, substance abuse or mental health counseling and other community support.
“One of the biggest challenges facing Baltimore today is ensuring that the thousands of men and women being released from prisons each year have the tools they need to contribute to the community so that they do not become recidivists,” said Senator Mikulski. “That’s why I fought to secure funding for Baltimore’s ex-offender program.”
Work that began as part of the Baltimore Citywide Ex-Offender Task Force in 2002 now continues under the direction of a Mayoral Appointed Steering Committee. As part of this committees efforts, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Employer Appreciation Breakfast promotes re-integration activities that lead to successful community re-entry and employment.
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation Employer Appreciation Breakfast is sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development in partnership with the Baltimore Citywide Re-entry and Re-integration Steering Committee; Abell Foundation; Open Society Institute; Baltimore County Department of Corrections; Baltimore County
Department of Employment & Training; Greater Baltimore Committee; Governor’s Advisory Council on Offender Employment Coordination; Maryland State Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services; Maryland State Department of Education; and State Use Industries.
- Outstanding Employers:
McDonald's - Cynthia Brown is the owner of six McDonald's stores in the Baltimore Metropolitan area, three of which employ women from Baltimore City's Work Release program. In addition, McDonald’s has a structured operational format that allows employees to learn how the business is managed from a corporate perspective.
P.A.P.A. Auto Parts has consistently demonstrated its commitment and desire to assist ex-offenders in re-entering society through its support and cutting edge retention services. P.A.P.A. Auto Parts also supports the educational and career development of its staff by promoting from within, including the promotion of ex-offenders. Approximately 90 percent of the individuals hired via its partner, the Center for Fathers, Families, and Workforce Development/Strive program, are still employed.
Carroll Custom Builders has more than 25 years of experience in residential carpentry contracting and now focuses on commercial construction for assisted living units, nursing homes and senior apartments. Carroll Custom Builders also constructs corporate projects in the $2 to $5 million range. The company works with the Baltimore County Work Release program and successfully employs its clients in the construction industry.
Packaging Strategies is a case fabrication company that employs people with skills in carpentry, blueprint reading and measuring. Packaging Strategies is a contractor with the U.S. Department of Defense, and currently employs re-entering individuals who received skills training as participants in Maryland State Department of Education’s Occupational Skills Training Center (OSTC). OSTC provides training for inmates of the Maryland Transitional Center.
- Outstanding Employees:
Alfreda Robinson - After nine years in federal prison, Ms. Robinson has dedicated
her time, energy and resources toward improving the lives of others returning to the Baltimore community. In 2001, Robinson helped found, build and staff the Maryland Justice Coalition, a statewide group of more than 300 individuals and organizations dedicated to reforming Maryland's criminal justice system. She is also the Founder and Director of the National Women's Prison Project, through which she provides physical, mental and spiritual support to women returning home from prison.
Larry Matthews - Mr. Matthews was released from prison in early 2003 after a seven-year sentence. As a client of the Maryland Re-entry Partnership, he became employed by Holly Poultry as a warehouse worker and was promoted to warehouse supervisor after five months. Matthews now maintains permanent housing and looks forward to soon purchasing his own home.
The Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, together with its many partners, is committed to assisting ex-offenders as they transition back into the community. The impact of this work is seen in economic and community development that increases the tax base, strengthens and reunites families, enriches the labor pool and reduces crime while providing individuals with opportunities to rebuild their lives and develop and contribute their talents. Expenditures for public safety and corrections are reduced and family stability is increased as fathers and mothers rejoin their families.