The JOBS Project with Detroit Action | Future of Work Town Hall

One Detroit examines employment barriers for returning citizens and other low-income residents

Life after prison can be difficult for returning citizens, especially as they attempt to return to the workforce. Returning citizens who were formerly incarcerated face disparate chances to land a job. A study from the Prison Policy Initiative found that across four demographic groups — Black men, Black women, white men and white women — all groups had higher unemployment rates for formerly incarcerated citizens than the United States general population.

The percentage unemployment rates among working-age Black, white, male and female demographic groups who have been formerly incarcerated compared to their peers in the U.S. general population. Data gathered from the Prison Policy Initiative

In Southeast Michigan, the disparities are no different for the estimated 5,000 citizens, according to Detroit Action, who return to life outside of prison each year. As a member-led grassroots organization, Detroit Action is working to make employment accessible for returning citizens and low-income residents through its new JOBS (Job Opportunities for a Better Society) Project.

The project “would act as a hiring hall for locals by systematically recruiting and bringing together individuals who face ongoing discrimination in the job market because of a record of past offenses and others within our community who struggle at finding employment,” the project’s website says.

One Detroit producer and Future of Work host Will Glover talks with Detroit Action Executive Director Branden Synder to learn more about the organization’s JOBS Project and how they’re paving the way for returning citizens to participate in Detroit’s resurgence.

They talk about the barriers to employment for returning citizens in Southeast Michigan, the training Detroit Action provides to returning citizens to help them scale up their employable skills, and how the organization works with employers across metro Detroit to find formerly incarcerated people jobs.

This town hall continues One Detroit’s cumulative, ongoing conversation involving the future of work and workforce development in Michigan.

Future of Work Town Hall Participants:

Future of Work Panelist | Branden Snyder, Executive Director, Detroit Action

Detroit Action Executive Director Branden SnyderBorn and raised on Detroit’s East Side to a working-class union family, Branden has been involved in faith, electoral and community organizing projects throughout the United States for over 10 years. Previously, Branden was the Deputy Organizing Director in charge of Youth Voting for the Hillary For Michigan 2016 presidential campaign, the Deputy Campaign Manager for the groundbreaking Gilchrist for Detroit City Clerk campaign, as well as the Statewide Director of Organizing for Michigan United.

Branden’s commitment to democracy and racial justice is fueled, in great part, by his experiences as a Detroiter and that of other Detroiters who have endured poverty and the criminal justice system. He believes in the power of bringing our communities together and challenging leaders to go from victims to victors by engaging the systems and policies that impact our lives.

Branden is a graduate of the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor with a B.A. in Political Science and Afro-American studies and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School for Public Policy. Branden also is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity Incorporated and is a die-hard Detroit sports fan (GO BLUE!) filled with a love for dogs, random trivia from “The Simpsons”, Hip-Hop and the NBA.

Future of Work Host: Will Glover, Producer, One Detroit

Will Glover Headshot 3For Detroit Public TV’s Future of Work initiative, One Detroit news and current events producer Will Glover leads conversations with business, economic, education, human resources, and policy experts to dive deep into Michigan’s workplace, workforce and the work itself to understand how we could create, retain and attract the talent needed to innovate and make Michigan a competitive top ten state across multiple industries.

Glover studied film at Eastern Michigan University and received his Associate Degree in Digital Video Production & Documentary Film from Washtenaw Community College. Whether it’s underwriting voice-overs or producing stories for One Detroit, you’ll hear his voice throughout Detroit Public TV programming. Glover’s focus is on his craft: finding the stories and voices that capture the truth.

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Support for this Future of Work Town Hall is provided by: 

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