Agency or Facility FAQs

The Next Step, Inc. helps recently released felons find employment by providing leads to Felon-Friendly Employers (FFE's) who may be looking for workers. Here are answers to some of the questions we hear most frequently.

How does this process work?
What about confidentiality?
How much does it cost?
What does my Agency or Facility do in return for employer leads?
What exactly is the deal with the Tax Credits? How do I use them to my advantage?
Can you give my ex-offenders a job?
What’s in it for my Agency or Facility?
How do I get my Agency or Facility involved?
When should I have my caseload to enroll?



How does this process work?

  1. The releasing felon registers with The Next Step by filling out an online form. As part of the application, the Candidate gives permission for The Next Step and WOTC Solutions to have and use the data to match and provide employer leads. The data is securely transmitted to us so that we know to begin providing leads for that Candidate.
  2. The supervising agency/case manager contacts us to request leads for candidates by name. We review our national CoFFE! database, and use geocoding to match the Candidate with Felon-Friendly Employers based on geography and type of work or skills. We email these to the Case Manager or Agency Contact.
  3. The Case Manager provides the leads to the Candidate so that the Candidate can visit to see whether the employer is hiring. We strongly recommend a face-to-face visit to the employer instead of a phone call -- this approach is much more likely to result in the Candidate being hired. If desired, we can provide flyers to the Case Manager that explain the WOTC tax credit. (Click here to request some flyers.) These can be useful when the Candidate hands them to the Employer -- a $2,400 tax credit is a powerful incentive to hire!
  4. If the Candidate is hired, the Facility reports the hiring back to The Next Step. We use this information to improve our database, and we will also contact the employer to offer assistance in applying for the WOTC tax credit. (We get paid when an employer hires us to provide this assistance. This is the only way this whole system is funded, so it is a very important step!)
  5. If the Candidate is not hired, the Case Manager provides feedback to us on the Employer leads we provided and can rquest more leads. These leads will not always lead to employment -- we rely on a large variety of sources to populate the CoFFE! database, and some are less reliable than others.  When the Case Manager provides feedback, we update the database so that the qulaity of the data is constantly improving.
  6. We repeat this process of providing leads ( up to 3 at a time) and updating the database with feedback until the Candidate finds a job.


What about confidentiality?

At The Next Step, we are very careful to handle all data confidentially. Our site is protected by SSL encryption, and all form data is transmitted and stored securely. 

By completing the online enrollment form the candidate authorizers us to: "By submitting this enrollment form, I agree that information concerning my employment can be shared with TNS/WOTC Solutions. I understand they will use the information to help me gain employment and to help my employer receive tax benefits for hiring me." 


How much does it cost?

It's FREE! We provide our lead service free of charge for agencies supervising ex-offenders. Our business relies on acting as a consultant for those employers that need professional assistance with the WOTC. If an employer wishes to do their own tax paperwork and preperation, they remain in our database as a lead for future ex-offenders.


What does my Agency or Facility do in return for employer leads?

In return for the free leads that we provide, we simply ask that you provide a weekly report of all new hires for your Residents/Clients. In particular, we need the name and contact information for the employer, and the name of the Resident/Client who was employed. Many facilities/agencies are able to use their computer systems to provide this data automatically, with no extra effort, but we can accept the information in any format you can provide it. The important part is that the information is provided weekly and completely.

The report you provide should include all your residents/clients who got jobs in the past week, not just those who got jobs from our leads. We use this information to grow and improve the database so that we continuously improve the quality of the leads we provide.


What exactly is the deal with the WOTC Tax Credits? How do I use them to my advantage?

The federal government offers the WOTC tax credit of up to $2,400 for a business that hires an ex-felon. A tax credit gives the employer a “dollar for dollar” savings on his/her federal taxes. The individual must be hired within one year of release. Once the employee reaches 120 hours (about 3 weeks), the employer qualifies for a credit of 25% of the wages paid. When the employee reaches 400 hours (about 10 weeks), the credit grows to 40% of the wages paid.

There are numerous federal and state forms to be filed and deadlines that must be met in order to get the credit. The first round of forms must be filed within 28 days of when a canididate starts working. Hiring your residents puts federal tax money back in your employer’s pockets. This can mean the difference between your resident getting the job or someone else.


Can you give ex-offenders a job?

We provide Job Leads for all areas of the country. This is a excellent resource for your residents to achieve employment -- but we do not place residents directly into jobs. While we do have companies contact us with their labor needs, we are not an employment agency. We market the WOTC eligibility of your clients and appeal to employers' bottom lines focusing solely on the fact  that they can save money!


What’s in it for my Agency or Facility?

It's great when a local business hires one ex-offender- but it's amazing when a local business hires eight of them!  We seek to strengthen your relationship with local employers by providing them with a staffing solution, tax consultant, and liason for your agency - all just a phone call or email away.  We want your agency to become the option of first resort, not the option of last resort.



How do I get my facility involved?
It's easy! Fill out this form to get the process started.  We'll get in touch with you quickly to work out:
  • Who in your Agency or Facility will receive leads.
  • How you will provide "Job Reports" each week telling us about Residents/Clients who have found jobs.

Depending on how motivated and flexible you are, and how easy it is to initiate the process of sending Job Reports, your facility can be enrolling and recieving leads in two to four weeks.

We're eager to work with you, and we commit to providing a rapid turnaround to answer questions and provide the information you need. We are extrememly and adaptable and will work with you to become a valuable resource to you and your staff!



When should I have my caseload to enroll?

You should allow your candidates to enroll at the time of their RRC or Probation designation, 6 months from release from an Institution, or once your staff has been trained.

© The Next Step Inc. 2011, All Rights Reserved • P.O. Box 19523, Shawnee Mission, KS 66285 • Phone: 888.998.7227 • Fax: 888.330.7079