Comstock's magazine 0618 - June 2018 - Page 78

n LAW N ine years after the recession drove many trades- and has been clean for over a year. But she says getting a people out of the business, the dearth of skilled job has been just as instrumental to making changes as construction workers in Northern California treatment. seems as permanent as a concrete piling. Last October, she was hired at a restaurant in Loomis “We’re definitely feeling it,” says Brent Perkins, and has since advanced to manager. “A job gives you a pur- human resource manager at Clark Pacific, which creates pose — you have to dress up and show up,” she says. You fabricated building systems with plants in West Sacra- won’t hear her complain about getting emergency calls to mento and Woodland. “Tilt-up, cast-in-place, framing, come in for a shift. “It’s great to be depended on. I’m the rough framing, finish carpentry — there’s a big gap.” one who gets called when someone doesn’t show up. I love About six years ago, Clark Pacific started hiring it,” she says. “Had my employer gone with the person with graduates of an apprenticeship program run by North- no criminal record, they wouldn’t have gotten someone ern California Construction Training, a nonprofit that who gives great customer service and who totally has the teaches building skills to ex-offenders and others. Over back of the company like I do.” six years, Perkins estimates that the company has hired Titan Gilroy, CEO and owner of Rocklin-based Titans about 75 people with a criminal record. A handful have of CNC, says he sees a similar kind of dedication from the moved up from production roles into lead, specialist and employees he’s hired, despite them having a record. foreman jobs. None of those they’ve hired has reoffended “People are different: There are those who need to stay on the job. in prison, and there’s a percentage who aren’t used to “We’ve found a great hard work. And there’s a big workforce with people who percentage that are so sin- had a small bump in the road cere in their effort that they and need that one chance,” make the best employees. Perkins says. ... Employers should look Giving ex-offenders at where [the applicant] is a better chance at rein- going, not where he’s been tegration is behind the — how he makes eye con- California Fair Chance Act, tact, how he shakes a hand. which took effect in Janu- When [employers] do that, ary. A wealth of research they’ll get extreme loyalty,” shows that having a job is he says. (Gilroy himself the most important factor spent time in prison before — Brent Perkins, human resource manager, Clark Pacific in cutting recidivism rates. founding his company in With exceptions for a few 2005.) types of jobs, the new law Beyond the potential forbids businesses with five qualities of ex-inmate or more employees from hires, state and local asking applicants about criminal history until late in the governments are looking to financially incentivize com- hiring process — which could mean big changes in how panies to be more open-minded. Under the federal many employers hire. Work Opportunity Tax Credit, employers who hire and retain people who have significant employment bar- A SECOND CHANCE riers, including convictions, can get up to $9,600 in Ashley Volkerts’ earliest memories involve substance abuse. federal credits. Calif