Giving Job Seekers a “Second Chance”

Pilot program launched in Tennessee Express Employment Professionals office, emphasizes commitment and dependability, and invites workers to learn from mistakes before receiving a second chance.

It took the promise of a new life to make Teddie Fason realize that he was tired of bouncing around between jobs and ready to set an example for his young son. But he soon learned that employers were not as forgiving when it came to his work history.

Luckily for him, Ronnie Morris was willing to give Fason a second chance.

Morris is the owner of Express Employment Professionals in Jackson, Tennessee, and he created the Second Chance Program as a way to give job seekers another chance at finding work, despite their past mistakes.

A second chance meant everything for program participant Kenneth Burgen of Jackson, Tennessee. He admits he “messed up” in the past, but says that the Second Chance program gave him a “new beginning.”

“I want to be an example of what to do after you get a second chance,” said Burgen, who is now succeeding and receiving positive reviews from his job placement.

Job seekers qualify for the Second Chance Program if they are former Express associates who have been “inactivated” for failing to appear for an assignment. An associate might also have been inactivated, or removed from consideration for job openings, if a business reported dissatisfaction with a worker.

“Express recognizes that some mistakes are outside of an associate’s control,” Morris said. “Difficult life circumstances may arise or, in other cases, associates come to regret their mistakes. With additional support from our office, they demonstrate a renewed commitment to the job placement process. We believe this makes them worthy of a second chance.”

As part of the Second Chance Program, the Jackson Express office develops a list of inactive Express associates who, based on their skills and desire for work, would be good potential matches for job assignments. They are invited to a learning session, where Morris personally discusses with them the key elements to being successful in a job placement. Values such as dependability, attitude, flexibility, appearance and initiative are covered in the session.

“If the Second Chance candidate makes a commitment to the program following the learning session, he or she will be signed up for another interview with Express before being reactivated, making them eligible to be placed with a business,” Morris said.

“We’re excited about the results we’ve seen. We’ve had very positive feedback from our clients and associates alike. We’re able to help people who deserve it. It’s actually made our office more efficient and effective, and there’s been so much interest in the program that we’re considering two Second Chance classes a week, instead of just one.”

The Second Chance Program has been running as a pilot program at the Jackson Express office, but now the Express International Headquarters in Oklahoma City is now offering an opportunity for Express offices nationwide to adopt the Second Chance program in their markets. Within a month of announcing this opportunity, 150 offices have requested information to move forward with implementing the program.

With many areas of the country experiencing tighter labor markets, the Second Chance Program has the added benefit of expanding the talent pool for businesses that are finding it increasingly hard to match skilled workers with open positions.

“Under Ronnie’s leadership, the Second Chance pilot program has achieved results-for workers seeking jobs and for jobs seeking workers,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “I’m proud that Express is now working to make this program a reality in more communities across the country. It’s good for our associates and good for the businesses we work with.”

Morris said he ends every class stressing the importance of “adding value.” He tells the class, “In the end, it’s all about adding value, and the way you do that is by making the place where you work better when you’re there.”

The Second Chance Program will help Express Employment Professionals reach its long-term goal of putting one million people to work annually.

Refresh Leadership is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

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