Young entrepreneur Sebastian Tan is the founder of OutsideConnection, a one-and-only platform designed to help former inmates transition into society with employment opportunities across the United States. To date, OutsideConnection has successfully provided such opportunities to more than 8,000 reentrants.
Tan is a high school student with a cumulative 4.3/4.0 GPA, but he’s also a serial entrepreneur. His family-owned bakery was the inspiration for OutsideConnection. As he grew up, Tan worked alongside the reentrants his family hired for their bakery. Through this experience, he gained a unique experience into the hardiness and work ethic possessed by former inmates transitioning back into normal life. Tan also realized the truth behind so many of these formerly incarcerated people: many came from lives of poverty and abuse. They were desperate for a fresh start and a second chance.
The statistics are clear: reentrants are a unique, diverse, and underrepresented population. 2.2 million people in America are currently in prison - a 700% increase over the past 50 years. When people are released from incarceration, their odds of finding viable employment are unfavorable. Statistics show that 60% of reentrants remain unemployed after one year of being released from incarceration. This equates 390,000 people who can use OutsideConnection to find a new job and get closer to living a happier, healthier life.
According to Tan, “Our mission is to helping reentrants find success after returning home from prison. Our goal as a second-chance job site is to help reentrants find welcoming employers that will contribute to their future success.”
As it stands, OutsideConnection is the only platform of its kind helping reentrants transition from incarceration to normal daily life. The platform features an impressive 1900+ jobs from more than 40 companies, including well-known national brands such as Google, Amazon, Walmart, McDonald’s, Marriott, Facebook, Chipotle Sysco, The Home Depot, and many others. The platform currently services 12 states across the country with jobs available in more than 31 cities. The site is free for reentrants looking for jobs and serves as a go-to resource for reentry organizations, jails, halfway houses, and probation and parole officers.
Using the platform is simple. Reentrants can go to the website and click the “Jobs” tab to learn about jobs near them. The job pool is carefully cultivated, featuring positions that offer reentrant-friendly, well-paying, pleasant work environments.
“From working side by side with reentrants, I’ve come to understand the challenges they face,” said Tan. “By supporting these individuals, we seek to help them become successful by providing them with jobs, support, and with organizational assistance on which they can rely.”
The OutsideConnection continues to grow and is now actively looking to expand their presence in Pittsburgh. Specifically, Tan and his team are interested in forging partnerships for expanding the OutsideConnection network. Looking to the future, the platform aims to further expand nationally to help the 650,000 people released from behind bars each year.
As a young entrepreneur behind one of the most positive people-focused initiatives for reentrants, Tan’s future is bright. He looks forward to seeing the continued success of OutsideConnection with partners across the United States. Learn more, including how to get involved, by visiting https://www.outsideconnection.org/.
OutsideConnection is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization dedicated to connecting former inmates reentering society with employment opportunities across the United States. Follow OutsideConnection on Instagram @outside.connection