Sep 20, 2010

Offering Businesses a Tremendous Work Ethic, Offering Workers Another Chance at Life: The Doe Fund's Employer Networking Breakfast

This morning I attended The Doe Fund's Employer Networking Breakfast at the University Club of New York.  The breakfast was a hopeful and inspiring event aimed at securing partnerships with local employers for The Doe Fund's successful programs that train and connect formerly incarcerated men to work. Greeting the audience, Founder and President of the Doe Fund, George T. McDonald, remarked that like the late Ted Kennedy, he too believed that "the best social program is a job."  Over the last two years, The Doe Fund has placed 955 individuals in jobs.

The event celebrated two "Employers of the Year," Volunteers of America and  Baldor Specialty Foods, acknowledging that these businesses have offered formerly incarcerated men a second chance at life by giving them the opportunity to work.  Henry Foreman, Baldor "Employer of the Year," remarked that the work ethic he sees in his Doe Fund graduate employees are "what [he] wants at Baldor" and told other employers in the room that working with the Doe Fund is a win-win situation, offering businesses employees with a tremendous work ethic and offering the Doe Fund graduates another chance in life.

Dane Finley, a graduate of The Doe Fund who currently works for Baldor introduced himself as a "proud graduate of Ready, Willing, and Able," and chronicled his journey to prison as a lost youth and the opportunity for redemption he found at the Doe Fund.  "I was released from prison on March 25, 2009, feeling spiritually rich, but with only fifty dollars in my pocket and no where to live but a shelter."  Eager to stay straight, Mr. Finely began living at the Doe Fund's Center for Opportunity, working in transitional employment cleaning up New York City's streets, training at the Doe Fund's culinary arts program, and receiving case management services from Doe Fund's clinical staff.  Patricia Laufer, The Doe Fund's Director of Career Development, eventually approached him with the opportunity to work at Baldor, a job that has allowed him to live independently and support the daughter that he describes as his "joy." Mr. Finley expressed that Baldor has given him the ability to "look forward to [his] future with hope and excitement, with the goal of becoming a manger at Baldor and being a role model to [his] beautiful daughter." 

The event beautifully captured the deep commitment of Doe Fund graduates to change their lives and the business community's responsivity to the type of work ethic that many formerly incarcerated individuals embrace upon their release from prison, one that can be fostered and sustained with the support of a workforce intermediary like the Doe Fund. To find out how to partner with the Doe Fund, visit their website at  Congratulations to The Doe Fund for such a successful event!