Wednesday, April 4, 2018
More than 98 ex-offenders recently attended an invitation-only, Re-Entry Job Fair hosted by the GREAT Center at Gateway Community College (GCC) in New Haven, Connecticut. The event included workshops for ex-offenders interested in returning to the workforce and interviews with employers seeking to hire.
Victoria Dancy, program manager of Today’s Youth—Tomorrow’s Careers at GCC’s GREAT Center, explained, “Often times, because there is such a stigma attached to ex-offenders, they get overshadowed at a general job fair. Here, we have a room full of people who are willing to give gainful employment and people a second chance.”
The event, which was organized in response to the growing need to reintroduce ex-offenders into the working community, followed the noteworthy example of the city of Baltimore and Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore launched the Coalition for a Second Chance, a successful program that provides workforce training and job opportunities for ex-offenders. Each organization helped the ex-offenders prepare for on-the-spot interviews, and conducted workshops to coach them in their personal presentation, with workshops on how to respond to interviewers’ questions, writing resumes and filling out applications. The participating organizations invited two to four employers each to attend the job fair, with the intent of matching them up with those seeking a second chance.
Of the 98 ex-offenders who participated, 25 were hired and are currently working and another 20 are in the acceptance process and will be working soon.
“We are extremely proud of GCC’s GREAT Center for engaging in this important work,” said Dr. Paul Broadie II, GCC president. “Everyone deserves a second chance at success, and providing a way to make that possible is at the heart of the community college mission. We are grateful to our partners in this endeavor.”
The partners for the organization of this Re-Entry Job Fair include:
•        Columbus House
•        Fellowship Place Inc.
•        GCC
•        Goodwill Industries
•        New Haven Works
•        Project Fresh Start/City of New Haven
•        Walter Brooks House
•        Youth Stat/City of New Haven

The following local businesses and resource/volunteer organizations participated:
•        Ahead Resources
•        BK Chicken & Waffles
•        Bozzuto’s
•        Clinton Nurseries (looking to hire 50 people)
•        Columbus House
•        Goodwill
•        Monroe Staffing
•        New Haven Works
•        Yale-New Haven Hospital
•        PTM Consulting
•        Ranstnad Temporary
•        Steadfast Staffing
•        Stuart Excavating LLC
•        Centimark
•        Laz Parking
•        Perco, Inc.
•        Valvoline Oil
•        Financial Empowerment Center – hosts financial literacy workshops
•        New Haven Public Library – free Microsoft suite workshops for residents of NH
•        Yale-New Haven Transitions Clinic
•        US Attorney General’s Office
•        When People Work
For more information on this program and other GREAT Center initiatives, contact Victoria Dancy at (203) 285-2440 or email at