Steven R. arrived at the Alvis HIRE (Help In Reentry Education) program without much hope that this program would be any better than the others he’d attended. He had already been disappointed several times by job readiness programs that promised to assist him with “successful reentry” but did not deliver when it came to job placement. Steven was willing to work hard and had marketable skills, but he was beginning to wonder if there was any hope for him in overcoming the barriers to reenter the workforce that were the result of spending 10 years in prison.

But after Steven’s first day in HIRE class, he could see that the Alvis staff genuinely cared about his success as they taught him the importance of recognizing his potential. Workforce Development Coordinators helped him to define his transferrable skillset and schooled him on how to sell those skills during mock interviews. Steven also learned to build on his existing skills to become a more valuable potential employee. He already had years of experience as a cook in prison and loved to see people enjoying his cooking. The Alvis staff quickly realized his passion and encouraged Steven to enroll in the ServSafe Food Handler and Allergen certifications to help boost his marketability.

Even with all Steven was learning at Alvis, his past disappointments made it hard for him to believe that an employer would give him a second chance.¬†Alvis believes that justice-involved individuals are motivated and skilled while at the same time being a relatively untapped human resource in today’s competitive job market.

A longtime partner of the Reeb Avenue Center and Alvis, Donatos is a company with deep local roots and a commitment to providing second chances. Steven put aside his doubts and trusted the Alvis staff as they engaged him in the full spectrum of the agency’s workforce development strategies and applicable certifications. At a monthly hiring event, Steven met the Manager of Culture and a People Recruiter at Donatos. The Donatos staff was so impressed with his interview skills, culinary skills, and work ethic that they invited him to a second interview with Donatos’ corporate leaders. Steven was hired just three weeks after completing the Alvis HIRE program.

Today, Steven is an Assistant General Manager for Donatos. He attributes his success to the range of services and training he received at the Alvis Community Reentry Center in combination with his willingness to work hard and learn new skills. To this day, Steve says, “I could not have succeeded without Alvis or the Reentry Center.” He is also grateful that Donatos believes in second chances and in the Alvis vision, that a person’s potential is more important than their past.