Recently, the 7th Step Foundation, out of Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP) hosted around 20 outside employers and resource providers for their “OSP Fair Chance Career Fair.” The 7th Step Foundation is an adult in custody (AIC) run club with a mission to provide information and resources to bring about positive change. Their mission is supported by the following four pillars: Education, Career, Transformational Healing, and Leadership.
In collaboration and partnership with Opportunity Oregon, Oregon Corrections Enterprises, Oregon Department of Corrections, Oregon State Penitentiary staff and AICs, and outside hiring managers, a new mission for the Career Fair was developed and they were able to “partner with vibrant, mission-focused organizations to deliver coveted employees to employers and positive ambassadors back to families and communities.” With approximately 150 AICs nearing their release and in attendance, the OSP Fair Chance Career Fair fulfilled its mission. Several AICs were hired and will have meaningful employment upon their release.
One employer stated, “This was the best event I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot.”
An AIC in attendance shared that “I learned that the things that we do here really matter- that it has value, and they (the employers) saw that value. What we do is gold. They saw the pictures of what we make, and they were impressed. It reinforced that what I do here, to learn and work, is worthwhile and they see it.”
OSP runs many different apprenticeships and programs to help develop skills and career opportunities for AICs upon release. There are many educational and training classes provided. OCE has several job opportunities available onsite as well. Without the partnership and contributions of the community, volunteers, and other stakeholders, these opportunities would not exist. What the OSP Fair Chance Career Fair provided was a bridge to apply the skills, knowledge, and aptitude learned while serving time in prison to substantial resources in the community. Thank you to the 7th Step Foundation for the successful outcome of this event.