MONTEREY PARK, Calif. — Gloria Cabrera is on probation. In fact, she’s been in and out of jail and prison over the last 10 years.
“I’m actually more stable than I have ever been in the last 10 years, but it’s been a heck of a road for me,” Cabrera said.
She’s talking to a lawyer, but Elizabeth Yang isn’t her representation; she’s her boss, working as a legal assistant in Los Angeles.
“You’ve got to be savvy, and yeah, she has that savviness,” Yang said.
Yang’s discovery is backed up by data, according to Fair Chance Hiring, a campaign to encourage businesses to consider job candidates with criminal backgrounds.
Research suggests “justice involved” employees stay at companies longer, work harder, and get promoted faster, according to the campaign.
“I ran away from home at the age of 15,” Cabrera said. She said she first got into trouble for shoplifting when she turned 18. Without a stable home, she continued to be in-and-out of jail—and even went to prison—until she got into a women’s rehabilitation program last year.
Cabrera’s coworkers at the firm don’t know much about her story. What they do know is that she’s tenacious—the kind of person who doesn’t wait to be asked. She just does.
“She just picked up everything so fast, everyone loves working with her,” Yang said.
Yang found Cabrera though a Chamber of Commerce internship program. When she first started, Cabrera says she only had the clothes on her back and the money in her wallet.
Fast forward to today. She’s now an employee and just signed a lease for her first apartment.
“Things are happening around here,” Cabrera said.
Los Angeles County offers a tax credit to employers who hire the formerly incarcerated, 40 percent or up to $9,600 on first-year wages. It will also reimburse 50 percent of wages for on-the-job training.