Elizabeth Speck, PhD’11, and Myisha Driver, PhD’19, are co-recipients of the 2021 Dianne Kipnes Social Innovation Award

Elizabeth Speck, PhD’11

Elizabeth Speck, PhD’11

Dr. Elizabeth Speck, PhD Human and Organizational Development 2011

Through Dr. Speck’s consulting company, MindOpen Learning Strategies, The Fair Chance Forward project was designed to work with organizations to help them hire individuals who have had employment challenges due to prior criminal records.  After considerable outreach, the project selected a direct service and advocacy nonprofit organization, Person Centered Care Services, serving people with developmental disabilities and their families, with a workforce of over 500 employees.

Over the four trainings, group coaching sessions, and working group meetings, all of which were highly customized to Person Centered Care Services, the agency demonstrated a greater understanding of how to achieve full workforce inclusion of people with criminal records. They have gained confidence in advocacy, created a rubric for hiring decisions involving a criminal record, and are presenting their work to the Board of Directors. The agency has established an ongoing relationship with MindOpen Learning Strategies, and now is poised to shift the narrative among organizations in their community of Staten Island, NY.

“This project is a direct extension of my Fielding dissertation completed in 2011, which explored the lived experiences of people who had been formerly incarcerated as they pursued careers in human services. The narrative that formerly incarcerated people unilaterally come to the workplace at a deficit is a myth: my research highlighted strengths in innovation, adaptiveness, and ability to hold multiple perspectives—capacities that are sought after in 21st-century work. The missing link is organizational readiness to fully include this population.” — Elizabeth Speck, Ph.D.

Dr. Speck holds a PhD and MA degrees in Organizational Development from Fielding Graduate University and is a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist with an MA in Drama Therapy from New York University. As a community member, scholar-practitioner, and entrepreneur, Elizabeth is active in multiple networks working towards racial justice and equity in education, health, employment, and economic opportunity.

About the Author: Fielding News

Stories about people, issues, research, and innovation across the Fielding global community as reported by the Fielding News Team.

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