Pilot program launched to help connect ex-convicts with jobs
A Yonkers native is finding a way to connect the formerly incarcerated with employers.
ConConnect, a LinkedIn for ex-convicts as creator Andre Peart describes it, is also helping to prevent ex-convicts from ending up back in prison.
"We currently have 500 jobs posted on the platform," Peart says. He created the justice-tech platform after getting out of prison and finding most employers reluctant to hire him.
"I was in the shelter for formerly incarcerated people one day on LinkedIn on my cellphone. I fell in love with the network. Literally I said, 'I have got to rebuild this for people like me,'" Peart recalls.
The result was ConConnect, which provides access to services like job training and counseling and works directly with employers willing to give ex-convicts a second chance.
"They don't apply to jobs they can't get," Peart explains.
The free service launched nationwide back in July 2021 and has already placed 900 ex-convicts in jobs.
"We have a long-term goal to reduce recidivism by 15% by 2025," Peart says.
Now Peart launched a first-of-its kind pilot program with the Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers in effort to reach formerly incarcerated tenants where they live. It's a partnership made possible through the Business Council of Westchester.
"We need to give people a second chance, obviously. We need to tap into everyone's skill set. Everyone has something to offer," says Wilson Kimball, executive director of Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers.
"I always tell people look at my story and that's what my platform can do," Peart says.
The pilot program is expected to run three to seven months.
Peart says he then hopes to expand partnerships with other municipal housing authorities across the country.
ConConnect is solely for the formerly incarcerated.
For help signing up, applicants can text MHACY-CC to 914-491-0963 or call 914-491-0963.