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The Memphis & Shelby County Office of Re-Entry is now accepting online applications for MSCOR University (formerly known as Second Chance), Winter 2016 Term.
Memphis & Shelby County Office of Reentry (MSCOR) is a collaborative effort to aid returning citizens with the tools necessary to ensure their successful community reentry with family, employment and education. This collaborative consists of parole supervision from the Tennessee Department of Correction; case management from the Shelby County Division of Corrections; and soft skills training from the City of Memphis’ Second Chance Program. In order to expand the services to all returning citizens regardless of the number and type of convictions, the Second Chance Program was enhanced to be called “MSCOR University.”
The classes and training offered through MSCOR University have proven to be beneficial in helping the student understand relationships and behaviors related to changing their status as a “labeled felon” to a respected and productive citizen. With this newfound self-accountability, the student will be better equipped to project confidence when applying for and functioning as a productive and valued employment. Enrollees will be eligible to participate in all services offered by MSCOR – healthcare, GED certification, Forklift certification, transportation passes, job fairs, etc. Completion of MSCOR University will show their dedication and commitment to improving their lives living with a conviction.
MSCOR University is taught on an array of tried and true life-coaching strategies.
MSCOR is a one-stop-shop hub with a mission “To help citizens returning from incarceration navigate a holistic network of community services designed to restore dignity and confidence while providing opportunities for individual and family success.”
Classes will be offered over a 4-month period beginning in February 2016. Potential students are required to reside in Shelby County, TN. They must attend one Core Class per month and one Elective Class over the 4-month period for a total of five classes. At the completion of the Winter 2016 term, students will be invited to participate in a graduation ceremony to receive a Certificate of Completion recognized by many local employers.
Register online https://www.mscor.org/content/mscor-university
Applications are online Monday, September 30, 2013 at 12:01a.m. through Friday, October 4, 2013 at 11:59p.m.
The online program application will have distinct sections: (Personal Information, Education & Training, and Work Experience). Failure to complete ALL program sections will result in an incomplete application and will not be processed.
The Memphis & Shelby County Office of Re-entry is an equal opportunity program and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or disability.
The application can be obtained by going to reentry.shelbycountytn.gov during this time.
Contact the Office of Re-Entry with any questions/concerns at (901)222-4550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Equal Opportunity Panel Updates Hiring Policy
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday approved an updated policy that makes it harder for employers to use background checks to systematically rule out hiring anyone with a criminal conviction.
The commission said that while employers may legally consider criminal records in hiring decisions, a policy that excludes all applicants with a conviction could violate employment discrimination laws because it could have a disparate impact on racial and ethnic minorities.
The E.E.O.C. adopted its new policy in a 4-to-1 vote at a time when more than 90 percent of employers conduct criminal background checks of applicants, up from 51 percent in 1996.
In publishing its extended guidance to employers, the agency made clear that employers were prohibited from treating applicants with the same criminal records differently because of their race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
The commission said that if employers excluded all applicants with criminal records, they would generally violate employment discrimination law unless they could show that such exclusions were “job related and consistent with business necessity.”
The agency instead called for employers to conduct individualized assessments of job applicants in a way that examined the nature and gravity of the criminal offense, the time passed since the offense and the nature of the job applied for.
In saying that a blanket exclusion can be discriminatory, the commissioners noted that if current incarceration rates remained unchanged, about one in 17 white men are expected to serve time in prison during their lifetime, compared with one in six Hispanic men and one in three African-American men.
“National data supports a finding that criminal record exclusions have a disparate impact based on race and national origin,” the agency said.
As an example, the commission discussed a situation in which a white applicant and a black applicant were recent graduates of the same university, had similar skills and work experience and had both pleaded guilty to charges of distributing marijuana as high school students. After college, they both applied to the same company, but after a background check, the company referred the white for a follow-up interview but not the black, saying it could not consider “these drug dealer types.”
That disparate treatment would violate federal antidiscrimination laws, the guidance document said.
The commission said it would look to things like biased statements and inconsistencies in the hiring process as evidence of unlawful bias.
The new policy updates a policy issued in 1987, when Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court justice, was commission chairman. Then, as now, the commission stated that blanket exclusions could unfairly hurt black and Latino applicants because they have considerably higher conviction records and the criminal offenses might be long ago and have little bearing on a current job.
In its guidance, the commission stressed that the fact that a job applicant was arrested does not establish that criminal conduct had occurred.
Maurice Emsellem, co-director of policy for the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for low-wage workers, applauded the commission’s move.
“It makes a big difference because a lot of employers have very little understanding of the basic guidelines on criminal background checks, and some have ignored them altogether,” he said. “The E.E.O.C. has made a big effort to make it easier for employers to understand the standard and for workers to understand their rights.”
Michael J. Eastman, executive director of labor law policy for the United States Chamber of Commerce, said the new directive would make it harder for employers to use criminal histories in employment decisions. “We’re trying to assess how much harder,” he said.
He noted, however, that the policy approved Wednesday was “much improved” over earlier drafts.
Applications will be accepted for the Second Chance Program December 20, 2010. The Second Chance Program is for individuals with one felony conviction. The program connects individuals with employers that are willing to hire them. Contact the office at (901) 545-0343 for more information. The Second Chance Ex-Felon office is located at 444 North Main, Memphis, Tennessee 38105 www.secondchancememphis.org.
Q & A
Q: Who qualifies for the Second Chance Program?
A: If you are an ex-offender with one felony conviction, you are eligible to participate in the Second Chance Program.
Q: What types of employment opportunities are available? And, what are the salary ranges?
A: Employment opportunities will be based on skill, work experience and educational level. Salaries will be based on job classification.
Q: Am I guaranteed employment?
A: Employment will be based on available job positions.
Q: How long will the process take before job placement?
A: Completion of the process will take approximately 60 to 90 days, however, completion of the process does not guarantee job placement.
Q: Will the nature of my offense keep me from being considered for the Second Chance Program.
A: Each applicant will be evaluated on an individual basis; however, all first time offenders will be given the opportunity to participate in the Second Chance Program.
Q: If I have a felony conviction and was charged, but not convicted of a second felony offense, would I be eligible for the Second Chance Program.
A: If you are an ex-offender with only one conviction you are eligible to participate in the Second Chance Program.
Q. If I’m currently awaiting a disposition on a pending charge, am I eligible for the Second Chance Program?
A: An applicant will only be eligible for the Second Chance Program after a conviction, and then only if he/she has one conviction.
Q: What is the Second Chance Program?
A: The Second Chance Program is a private/public partnership between the City of Memphis and local businesses that is designed to connect ex-offenders who are willing to work with employers who are willing to hire them.
Q: Would violation of probation exclude me from being eligible for the Second Chance Program?
A: Violation of probation would exclude an applicant from the Second Chance Program based on the nature and classification of the offense. Every incident will be reviewed before a determination is made; however, if an applicant is charged with and convicted of a second felony he/she will be automatically dismissed from the Second Chance Program.
Q: If I would like to apply or find out more information concerning the Second Chance Program, where would I go?
A: Any eligible ex-offenders or prospective employers can contact the office at (901) 545-0343. The Second Chance Ex-Felon office is located at 444 North Main, Memphis, Tennessee 38105.
Q: Must I reside in the City of Memphis to participate in the Second Chance Program?
A: Participants must reside within the boundaries of Shelby County to participate in the Second Chance Program.
The Second Chance Program is a private/public partnership between the City of Memphis and local businesses that is designed to connect ex-offenders who are willing to work with employers who are willing to hire them. Since its creation by the City of Memphis in 2001, the Second Chance program has provided employment and support services to former offenders in Memphis and Shelby County to help them succeed in life as law abiding citizens. For Frequently Asked Questions click here.
Applications for the Second Chance Program will be accepted on September 27, 2010. Please call 901-545-0343 for information and to find out if you qualify.