Posted By: DreamingCode Admin

Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE) programs have proven to be transformative, playing a vital role in supporting individuals on their path to personal and professional growth. Emphasizing skill-building and instilling confidence, OCE is dedicated to empowering individuals to reintegrate successfully into their communities after release. Operating laundry facilities within various correctional settings in Oregon, OCE offers pre-release job opportunities, facilitating a smooth transition back into society and reducing the likelihood of reoffending.

About 95% of currently incarcerated individuals will eventually release back into the community. OCE is committed to help close the gap between release and employment.

"By providing Adults in Custody (AICs) with job opportunities before their release, we can help them transition back into society smoothly and reduce the likelihood of reoffending," stated Melanie Doolin, OCE Administrator.

OCE's impact extends significantly, with 29 diverse programming opportunities offered in 10 Oregon prisons, benefiting over 2,600 men and women in custody annually. Through strategic partnerships with Second Chance employers, OCE creates direct pathways to immediate employment, further supporting individuals in their journey towards a brighter future.

One such partner is ALSCO Uniforms, a reputable Utah-based industrial laundry company with locations in Portland, Eugene, and Medford, Oregon. ALSCO Uniforms, with its rich family-run history spanning 135 years, primarily serves industrial customers.

Daniel Breiner, an ALSCO Engineer, stands as a true testament to the success achieved through OCE programs. Formerly incarcerated, including time at Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP), Breiner considered working for OCE during his incarceration a priority. The opportunity provided him with more than just a higher-paying job; it instilled valuable life skills applicable to the real world, and allowed him to not have to rely on his family for assistance while incarcerated.

"You need to learn that for the real world, too," he emphasized.

Post-release, Breiner joined ALSCO Uniforms, initially as a temporary solution to his uncertainties. However, driven by determination and ambition, he quickly progressed within the company, now flourishing as an esteemed engineer with a brand new truck, a house, and an annual salary exceeding $65,000. Breiner's remarkable journey showcases the positive impact of OCE and the potential for personal growth and success.

Reflecting on his inspiring progress, Breiner stated, "There are people in this world who have never been to prison at all and don't even own a house or a car, and I did it all in a year and a half. I can probably thank OCE and the prison because it made me focus on work ethic, structure, and it probably made me more determined than anything."

Today, Breiner is on the path to becoming the Chief Engineer at ALSCO Uniforms, a testament to the company's belief in the potential of individuals who have worked hard to transform their lives.

A representative of ALSCO said he didn't know anything about OCE programs when ALSCO Uniforms became a partner with OCE about 4 years ago.

"After an overview of what the program offered and what the candidates offered, we decided to give it a shot," he said. "The applicable skills are incredibly similar. I was a little surprised that they were so qualified and the training time was really short for most of them. Our normal training period is four to six weeks and a majority of the candidates we've gotten have taken two weeks at most, just because they were familiar with the program and they needed to learn the way we do it."

To date, this ALSCO Uniforms site alone has hired six individuals, and three are still working for them today.

"The partnership has been fantastic. I would hire every person you send me. I could use them all," one ALSCO representative said.

ALSCO recommends businesses keep an open mind when considering a partnership with OCE.

"We didn't know what to expect. Who were these individuals? What's their experience? What's their history?" he asked. "It turns out, it doesn't really matter what their history is. It's what you have in front of you. Take a chance."

Assistant Production Manager John Kim's journey is another testament to the efficacy of OCE's preparation for the workforce. Working at OCE laundry during his time at OSP and Mill Creek, Kim credits the OCE laundry staff for their coaching and encouragement. Equipped with invaluable skills from OCE, Kim has flourished at ALSCO Uniforms and expresses a deep sense of gratitude towards the opportunity.

"It helped me get a foot in the door," Kim said. "I want to do really well for them, because they gave me the opportunity. They have helped me out this whole time, and they have no judgement. They are really good people and so I do want to take it as far as I can with them and help the company grow."

Kim said he was not expecting to land where he is today.

"I didn't think I was going to come to this industry. It was the last thing on my mind. I would never have thought in a million years that I would be in this position or in the laundry industry," Kim said. "OCE prepared me, whether I knew it or not, it really did help me to get where I am."

Larry Bell, another new employee at ALSCO, praises OCE for providing him with stability and responsibility. His experience at OCE laundry has significantly contributed to his successful employment at ALSCO Uniforms.

"I couldn't hold a job before. I learned stability and responsibility," Bell said. "If you're positive and work hard, people with connections will help you get to the next place you need to go. They help you find a job and that stability."

Mercy Claudio is a production manager at ALSCO Uniforms in Portland, Oregon. Claudio been with the company 20 years, working as production manager for the past 15 years.

"They are bringing their experience with them," Claudio said. "What they've learned in there, they bring with them out here. We see them come here and work and have other opportunities and other potential. They are going to succeed out here."

Claudio said she doesn't want them to be afraid of putting all their work experience into their resumes, no matter where that experience was obtained or where they were coming from.

"It's about bringing your experience with you and wanting to work," she said. "That's what I want. We are working right now in the day, we're not working in the past."

She said she has seen a lot of good people who have come to work for ALSCO Uniforms after working through the program.

"Give them that opportunity because they do have a lot of skills and they bring experience with them. Give them that opportunity and hire them and see they work hard and want to do better," she said. "They have to start somewhere."

With success stories like Daniel Breiner, John Kim, and Larry Bell, ALSCO Uniforms proudly demonstrates that individuals given opportunities and second chances can flourish, bringing resilience and dedication into the workplace. The powerful partnership between OCE and ALSCO Uniforms exemplifies the transformative potential when organizations unite to create a positive impact, unlocking opportunities for those on the journey to rebuild their lives.