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Second Chance Hiring and the Role HR Professionals Play
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Second Chance Hiring and the Role HR Professionals Play

Join HRACC for an evening chapter event featuring a panel discussion on leveraging the talent pool of individuals with a criminal background, including an overview of SHRM’s Getting Talent Back to Work initiative.

When: Wednesday November 20, 2019
5:00 PM
Where: Wood-n-Tap
3375 Berlin Turnpike
Newington, Connecticut  06111
United States
Contact: HRACC Operations

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Second Chance Hiring and the Role HR Professionals Play

HR professionals are struggling to find talent in a low unemployment economy.  An overlooked segment of the population, approximately one-third of the total U.S. adult population by some estimates, have some criminal justice background. Finding a job can be difficult for this population, especially with the exponential growth of the background checking industry post-September 11th. In a survey by SHRM, 90% of employers are doing background checks as part of the hiring process.  Employment is critical to successful reentry. It keeps our communities safer, and it strengthens families. And it helps businesses too: job applicants with a criminal record are a viable workforce solution to unmet hiring needs.

This panel discussion will begin with an overview of SHRM’s Getting Talent Back to Work initiative.  Our featured speaker, Sue Ellen Allen, will share her powerful story about committing a crime and having the courage to change her life.  She is a sought-after author and speaker whose story and experiences inspires diverse audiences from conferences to boardrooms to prisons. Mark Pelka, Undersecretary, Office of Policy and Management, State of Connecticut, will talk about the moral and business case of hiring individuals with a criminal background and share Connecticut data and criminal justice reforms related to employment. Tom Krivickas, Owner, Boatworks will share his experiences in meeting his hiring needs by giving individuals with a criminal history a second chance.  Participants will learn the why and how of leveraging this talent and become acquainted with a toolkit that will assist them in making the business case and finding the tools to succeed in hiring from this targeted talent pool. The panel discussion will end with a call to action asking employers to sign SHRM’s Getting Talent Back to Work pledge, and the announcement of HRACC’s Diversity Award, recognizing an employer that has shown its commitment to hiring individuals from this population.  

Key Learning Objectives of this Session Include:

~The moral and business case for hiring an individual with a criminal background

~Ability to share the evidence, success, and compassion that will result in an organization’s ability to attract and retain this largely untapped talent resource.

~Motivation, knowledge, tools and resources to lead and advocate for the talent pool in a manner that supports business, community, and individual success


Doors open at 5:00 PM

5:00 PM –  Registration & Networking
6:00 PM –  Buffet Dinner & Chapter Announcements
6:30 PM –  Presentation Begins
8:00 PM –  Presentation Concludes

This program has been approved by HRCI for 1.50 Recertification Credits and by SHRM for 1.50 Professional Development Credits

Chapter Members of HRACC - $40.00
Guests and Future Members - $50.00

NOTE: If you are a member of HRACC, please log in prior to registering 
NOTE: If you are an HRACC member in transition* you may register at a reduced $20 rate.  *
Eligibility for this discount is limited to members who worked for an employer, have now separated employment, and are actively seeking re-employment elsewhere.


SUE ELLEN ALLEN, Founder & CEO of REinventing REentry

Sue Ellen Allen is an author, speaker, activist, and felon. A University of Texas graduate, educator, community leader and former business owner, she experienced the ultimate humiliation: prison and disgrace. After a fall, she had two choices: Get Back Up or Get Back Up. She founded REinventing REentry with a vision to educate and reshape our society’s perception of former inmates so they may successfully reenter our society creating safer communities and reducing the $80 Billion prison budget. Sue Ellen combines her prison expertise with leadership. She survived the humiliation of prison, and went through the "poison, slash and burn" of breast cancer, started a Cancer Walk, a Gavel Club, and a Life Skills course while incarcerated. She learned leadership skills that she now uses outside of the prison walls.  

Sue Ellen co-founder and was Executive Director of Gina’s Team, an organization which created a successful Arizona prison program for women using the ATHENA International's leadership model to garner an 11% recidivism rate in five years. In 2015 she attended the Clinton Global Initiative and gave her first TEDx talk. In 2016 she was honored to be one of 23 American guests of the First Lady in her box at President Obama's final State of the Union Address, representing justice reform.  That led to an invitation to speak at the historic White House hosted summit, The United State of Women, and finally at the Convening of Leaders in Criminal Justice Reform, also at the White House. Those experiences have resulted in a compelling story that Sue Ellen uses to speak about justice reform, leadership and survival.


MARK PELKA,  Undersecretary, Office of Policy and Management, State of Connecticut

Marc Pelka relies on the best available evidence and data analysis as his lodestar for criminal justice policy and practice, aspires to achieve bipartisan support wherever possible on criminal justice policy, and brings compassion to the experiences of people working in or affected by the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

Marc worked for ten years at a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, The Council of State Governments Justice Center, where he helped state policymakers from across the country use a Justice Reinvestment approach to reduce spending on corrections and reinvest in public safety strategies. To that end, he worked intensively onsite in states providing intensive criminal justice system data analysis and presentations, extensively engaging system stakeholders, and helping state policymakers to develop and enact sweeping bipartisan legislation. The new statutes helped states reduce recidivism and shift a portion of savings into community substance addiction and mental health treatment, victim services, and stronger probation and parole supervision.

He served in public affairs and policy analysis positions in the Connecticut House of Representatives. Marc earned a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from New York University and was selected to represent Connecticut as a 2003 Harry S. Truman Scholar. The program recognizes college students dedicated to future careers in public service. He earned a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

TOM KRIVICKAS, Boat Works of South Windsor, Inc.

Tom Krivickas started Boat Works of South Windsor, Inc in 1986 as a 2nd generation boating enthusiast with a Bachelor of Architecture Degree from the University of Miami.  Tom saw the need for a quality boat operation to serve the growing population of recreational boaters.  Boat Works is a full-service inland marine dealer specializing in mechanical, fiberglass and complete refurbishing.

Although their core business is in the marine industry, from sales to repairs to complete refurbishing, Tom saw the need to expand their services to include commercial fiberglass fabrication and shrink-wrapping services.  Customers include Pratt & Whitney, Kaman Aerospace, US Navy, and more. 

With the rapid growth of their commercial division, the need for skilled employees has become crucial. Boat Works is grateful to have been able to work with the CT DOC Reintegration Program to help find and foster this skilled, and untapped workforce.  The people that Boat Works work with have shown high gratitude for the opportunity and ability to be given a second chance and possibly a new career path.


Many thanks to our Sponsors:



Dustin Luce


Bill Schaeneman