LOUISVILLE, KY – Goodwill Industries of Kentucky is virtually hosting its first Second Chance Conference on April 28 in support of the thousands of previously justice-involved Kentuckians who have paid their debts to society and now want to rebuild their lives.
“One in three American adults has a criminal record, which limits their access to education, jobs, housing and more,” said DeVone Holt, vice president of external affairs for Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. “We believe this conference will help restore dignity and unlock brighter futures for men and women all around the state who struggle to overcome the stigmas of their past.”
Goodwill’s Second Chance Conference will feature workshops that help people across the commonwealth with criminal records understand how to successfully pursue career opportunities and inform them about useful reentry services that are available to them. A second set of workshops will be conducted for business and service-provider representatives interested in supporting the second-chance population.
The virtual conference will also feature an expungement clinic that will help attendees navigate the process of having their criminal offenses removed from their records. Each conference attendee will qualify for a more thorough one-on-one expungement consultation session with a legal professional in their respective communities at the expense of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. Through a series of expungement clinics in 2020, Goodwill helped more than 300 Kentuckians clear their criminal records. The nonprofit organization plans to host an additional six expungement clinics in 2021.
President Joe Biden recently issued a proclamation marking April as National Second Chance Month to raise awareness of the many barriers that formerly incarcerated people face, spotlight the important work being done by community-based organizations and empower second-chance individuals to achieve success.
According to Prison Fellowship, the United States imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation – currently nearly 2.2 million. While more than 600,000 Americans are released from correctional facilities annually, two-thirds are rearrested within three years. Each year, the nation spends over $80 billion to incarcerate and reincarcerate people. Beyond the financial impact, the cycle of crime and incarceration produces broken relationships, victimization, despair and instability impacting families and communities across the nation.
“It made sense for us to host this conference in April in conjunction with National Second Chance Month,” said Holt. “However, Goodwill is committed to a mission that has us deeply engaged in this type of work throughout the entire year.”
Goodwill Industries of Kentucky is committed to serving the second-chance population through a variety of innovative programs and services. Most notably, Goodwill’s RISE program (Reintegrating Individuals Successfully Every Day) helps hundreds of participants overcome barriers to entering the workforce by providing two weeks of job-readiness training.
Due to COVID-19 protocols, the Second Chance Conference will occur virtually on April 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT. Those interested in attending can register for free online at goodwillky.org/secondchance. The event, which is presented by Passport Health Plan by Molina Healthcare and sponsored by the LG&E and KU Foundation, Clean Slate and Park Community Credit Union, will feature laptop and gift card giveaways for some attendees to help improve their ability to successfully reenter the workforce.
About Goodwill Industries of Kentucky
In the 2020 fiscal year, Goodwill partnered with 751 community employers to place Kentuckians into 2,073 jobs across the state – both inside and outside of Goodwill. Goodwill’s career path programs and employment services, which serve Kentuckians who have disabilities or other challenges, are funded through a combination of grants, corporate and individual giving, and its retail stores, which sell donated clothing and household items at 66 locations across Kentucky.