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Second Chance employment for ex-cons at Dave’s Killer Bread

Second Chance Employment - Dave Dahl

By: Eric Perkins

Released from prison in 2005, Dave Dahl was thankful for a family and a family business to fallback on. Even after having been locked up for 15yrs. Many ex-cons released even after a couple of years are destined for homeless shelters and halfway houses.

Reverting to the family’s baking business. His father had founded the bakery in 1955. Upon Dave’s release, this high school dropout and now ex-con took the opportunity to make a new life for himself. Growing up, Dave did not enjoy working at the family bakery. He not only changed his mind, but decided to dedicate his life to it and help others along the way. This would become the foundation for Dave’s Killer Bread.

New Beginnings 

After Dave discovered a killer recipe to create organic and nutty bread at the bakery, he was on his way. From that point, Dave’s Killer Bread started with 30 employees. Incredibly increasing to over 190 in 2010 and an astounding 280 by 2012.

Who did he hire? Dave made it a point to give ex-convicts a second chance at a new life. With a convict in the family, the practice of hiring felons at the bakery came naturally to this small business. Dave would not only continue the practice but he would expand it at Dave’s Killer Bread.

“I was a four-time loser before I realized I was in the wrong game,” Dave said.

The growth has been nothing short of exponential, and 15 years from founding the business, it has continued to grow.

The business was sold to Flower Foods in 2015 for $275 million. But to this day it still holds onto the same principles its founders set. The brand remains a strong advocate for second chances and continues to hire ex-convicts.

DAVE’S KILLER BREAD

There’s a reason why Dave’s Killer Bread is very popular across states in the United States and Canada. While the company is popular for its humanitarian work with ex-convicts and people with records, the product itself is taking the market by storm. 

While there are many options in the market, including whole grain, oat, potato, whole wheat, flaxseed, etc., Dave’s Killer Bread is already one of the most common breads on store shelves. The main buying point for this bread is the whole grain ingredient and protein-packed dough. It is also the best-selling organic and Non-GMO project verified bread. 

The only thing better than a second chance might be Pumpkin Spice Madness

Dave’s Killer Bread Second Chance Employment

Apart from making products now popularly rated as America’s number one organic bread brand, Dave’s Killer Bread is known for second chances.

While Dave Dahl might have made a better life for himself with his family bakery after coming out of prison, this isn’t the same reality for other ex-convicts. Many do not have the same opportunity to do better for themselves. 

This is the primary reason for recidivism. Dave’s Killer Bread is continuing to help this community by employing ex-convicts. And the foundation discussed below is ensuring that other organizations adopt similar policies.

Others Deserve a Second Chance too

Dave thought it wasn’t enough for him to create a new life for himself after serving time. He wanted to help more– thus driving Second Chance Employment. 

Dave Dahl - Second Chance employer
Dave Dahl – Second Chance employer

After turning his own life around and seeing first-hand that people can come out of the system and rebuild their lives positively, he was determined to help others do the same.

“At Dave’s Killer Bread, we believe in Second Chance Employment: hiring the best person for the job, regardless of criminal history. We have witnessed its transformative power, and that giving someone who is ready to change their lives a chance – a Second Chance – gives people an opportunity not only to make a living but to make a life.”

Quote on their website stating their belief

It is common for businesses not to employ people because of a criminal background, but Dave’s Killer Bread took a completely different route. They aren’t just helping ex-convicts make a living for themselves– they are helping them to build a new life and positively impact their communities. While many employers shy away from hiring ex-convicts, Dave’s Killer Bread boasts that one-third of their hundreds of employees are former convicts or people with criminal backgrounds.

Many of these employee-partners are individuals who have shown the passion, commitment, and will to learn and grow. This is what they seek in their employees, irrespective of their criminal background. They believe in the potential for growth in every human and try to help them make the best of themselves. 

These employees go on to become trustworthy and valued workers and have the same opportunities to join the management team as everyone else in the company. A business that started with an ex-convict is now responsible for helping other ex-convicts. 


THE SECOND CHANCE PROJECT

Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation (DKBF) powers second chance employment. The foundation is an embodiment of the company’s willingness to continue helping people with criminal records gain employment. This is indeed a policy that should go beyond just Dave’s Killer Bread. Other business organizations need to adopt similar policies, so the foundation was built to encourage this.

DKBF believes that companies are hesitant to employ people with criminal backgrounds because they lack knowledge or information, and they have made it their goal to change this. According to DKBF, second-chance employment for ex-convicts will have a long-term effect on society. Recidivism is such a critical issue in America, and second chance employment is the best tool to counter it. DKBF educates organizations and provides them with information on the importance of adopting policies favorable to individuals with a record. This will give them a chance to rebuild their lives.

People with a criminal history find it challenging to get a job after coming out of prison. This is why they typically keep whatever job they get, even if it’s a low-paying one where their rights are often ignored. DKBF believes that ex-felons deserve a better life which starts with a decent job.

DKBF supports and equips businesses to embrace second chance employment. As an organization, they are in the same shoes and have been through the same muddy waters. They use the same experience to help other people avoid mistakes they have made, while not overlooking talented individuals because of their criminal background. They work with employers to source exceptional talent and also build senior leadership buy-in. 

How Dave’s Killer Bread is effecting change today

  • Challenge and change the misconceptions and myths surrounding the employment of people with a criminal history while offering them a path forward.
  • Assess employers’ current practices and offer them comprehensive plans, recommendations, and coaching to implement second chance employment. 
  • Form a Second Chance Business Coalition – consisting of businesses in the private sector advocating for nationwide acceptance of second chance employment and making it a part of the internal hiring process.

Resources:

For more information on Dave’s Killer Bread, check out this great article:

YouTube: Dave’s Killer Bread – What We’re All About

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj7hHPVXhsY

Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation