Jobs For the Future Launches Advocacy Art Campaign to Normalize Career Opportunities for People Who Have Records

Jobs For the Future Launches Advocacy Art Campaign to Normalize Career Opportunities for People Who Have Records

Drawing on the talents of activists and justice-impacted individuals, the campaign will address the stigma faced by those with records and impart the need for expanded access to career opportunities for this population.

BOSTON, June 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national nonprofit driving transformation in the American workforce and education systems has launched an advocacy art campaign that calls on policymakers to remove barriers for the more than 70 million Americans who have a criminal record. In partnership with Amplifier, a nonprofit design lab that builds art and media experiments to support social movements, the campaign has been created to reach audiences across the nation and will feature original art from impactful activists in the social justice space.

“One-in-three people in our country have a record and are permanently punished long after they have completed their sentences,” said Brandi Mandato, senior director of JFF’s Center for Justice & Economic Advancement. “Our political, economic, and social systems are designed to prevent people with records from advancing in their careers and in their lives. When we normalize opportunity for people with records, we are removing these systemic barriers and setting people up for economic success.” 

Rooted in the Center’s recently-published policy framework, the #NormalizeOpportunity campaign uses portrait art and poetry to amplify the stories of three icons who have been incarcerated and have achieved economic success through fair chance pathways. The framework—”Normalizing Opportunity: A Policy Agenda to Promote Economic Advancement for People With Criminal Records“—details actions that federal, state, and local leaders can take to overhaul the complex web of rules and regulations that permanently penalize people with records and exclude them from pursuing quality jobs they are qualified for or can learn to do.

Those profiled in the campaign – all of whom are available for comment – include Susan Burton,  John Gargano, and Mac Phipps—all of whom have had unique experiences navigating the justice system and building meaningful careers during their reentry processes. These individuals have demonstrated the limitless potential of people who have been impacted by incarceration and what they can achieve when barriers are removed and opportunities are accessible. Artist and activist Brandan “BMIKE” Odums has been commissioned to create a series of paintings  and acclaimed writer Jazmine Williams will author poetry that share the stories of these leaders. The full collection of artwork created for the campaign can be viewed at

“Amplifier is excited to be part of this mission for change,” said Cleo Barnett, creative director for the nonprofit. “As an organization, we promote social change, but it is rare that we get the chance to work with an organization like JFF to actually push for policy change. This is a very exciting opportunity for us.”

The art campaign will launch June 14 in New Orleans while JFF hosts its annual Horizons summit, an event that welcomes more than 1,000 guests and provides a national platform for ideas and actions to advance equitable economic advancement for all people. The campaign also will be disseminated to audiences nationwide with a targeted focus in New York and Louisiana and will compliment JFF’s groundbreaking policy work in the field of fair chance—sometimes referred to as second chance—opportunities.

“Through this art campaign, we aim to humanize the people impacted by the permanent punishment our systems place on people with records,” said Lucretia Murphy, vice president at JFF and director of the Center. “It is time policymakers and communities understand that these individuals are real people with real families from real communities. By sharing the stories of these amazing individuals, it is our hope that others will share their stories so we can change the narrative around people with records.”

In the United States, more than 600,000 people are released from prison every year and face barriers to employment and economic mobility. Through its Center for Justice & Economic Advancement, JFF’s #NormalizeOpportunity campaign raises awareness of the economic needs of people with records and pushes for changes that start behind the walls. In addition to its policy work, the Center provides a fair chance employer training program and works with education institutions to ensure prison education programs are accessible and inclusive of the needs of a changing workforce. For more information on this work and the Center for Justice and Economic Advancement, please visit

About Jobs For the Future: 

Jobs for the Future (JFF) drives transformation of the U.S. education and workforce systems to achieve equitable economic advancement for all. We do this by designing solutions, scaling best practices, influencing policy and action, and investing in innovation. 

About Amplifier: Amplifier is a nonprofit media lab that creates art and media experiments to amplify the most important movements of our times. We design and distribute art that engages people in the creation of a more just, inclusive and sustainable future.

Our campaigns promote critical thinking and build compassion, capturing the attention of mass audiences and providing pathways for direct action to solve some of humanity’s most challenging issues. Our current portfolio includes augmented reality storytelling, an education network that reaches over a million students nationwide, and partnerships with global allies that allow the work to reach hundreds of millions, changing not just hearts and minds, but policy and practice. More information can be found at


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