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Re-Entry Expo: An Innovative Way to Support Former Inmates


By Maayan Silver

Getting out of prison and facing the world can be tough. Community, religious and government organizations try to fill in the gaps by offering help with job training and housing, or transportation and mental health counseling. But still, some people fall through the cracks.

So the groups providing reentry services came together for the first “Southeast Wisconsin Reentry Employment Expo” on Thursday on the campus of the Cousins Center in Bay View. Organizers hope to make it an annual event.

One of the goals of the event was to connect formerly incarcerated people to jobs, but this was not a traditional job fair. Instead of job seekers walking around to look for work, the people going from table to table were employers. And the tables were staffed by community organizations.

They were there to network and give employers information on the services they provide. One of the employers was Bob Hurd. He is an HR director for four manufacturing companies in the greater Milwaukee area. Pointing to the informational tables, he said the event is worth his time. “It provides an avenue of non-traditional recruiting,” he says. “There’s a lot of people who need a second chance, and there’s a lot of agencies in the walls over there. So, it’s kind of a one-stop shop for us.”

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