Barclays Center to hosts job fair for New Yorkers coming out of criminal justice system

barclays center, part of atlantic yards redevelopment, at night
Barclays Center.
Photo by Ajay Suresh via Wikimedia Commons

Barclays Center will be hosting a job fair put on by the Reform Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to probation, parole, and sentencing reform nationwide, on Mar. 20.

Over 4,000 job seekers have registered, and 43 companies have confirmed their attendance of the event, which will run from from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the organization expects more in the upcoming days.

The event will feature recruiters from local employers and national corporations including Amazon, CVS Health, Lowe’s, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the New York Fire Department and more are hiring for hundreds of open positions at all levels. 

Reform has created this event to try to advance economic prosperity, public safety and greater public benefit especially for those that have been affected by the criminal justice system.

In the middle of this post-pandemic labor shortage, former incarcerated people have an employment rate of 27%, which is higher than national unemployment rates during the Great Depression. Among those who are working, two thirds make less than $20,000 a year. 

“We believe that we are in a crisis mode,” said Robert Rooks, CEO of Reform. “That’s no way to reenter society and try to provide for your family. We need to do our part to ensure that people have real opportunities. We need to eliminate the barriers that exist for employment. Not just give people jobs, but careers that will allow them to contribute to their family and their community and have a true second chance.”

The employers participating in the event belong to industries in fields like manufacturing, gastronomy, customer service and logistics.

Representatives of community organizations, programs of workforce development and re-employment organizations will be there to provide development resources such as free career and job readiness support. Reform has identified that many of the people who come out of the system, benefit from advise on record sealing education, writing a resume and preparing for interviews, professional image consulting, personal care and styling services.

One year after coming out of the justice system, 75% of people remain unemployed, yet “we are seeing restaurants hanging  signs that says ‘excused the long wait. We are currently low on staff,’ all throughout New York, and we see it all throughout the country,” said Rooks.

“We need to do more on communication. We need to have more partnerships and collaborative standpoint with employers. And employers need to do more in terms of changing their policies and their systems to ensure the success of people impacted by the system,” he said.

Registration for employees to participate in the job fair are still open