MOD Pizza Looks to Reduce Barriers to Employment

    Industry News | April 26, 2023

    MOD Super-Fast Pizza Holdings, LLC announced the launch of the MOD Opportunity Network (MOD O.N.), an innovative, national program dedicated to hiring and supporting people with barriers to employment. Building upon MOD’s long history of employing overlooked populations, MOD O.N. connects the Company and its stores with national non-profit organizations that support the readiness, placement and retention of job seekers deserving of a second chance or a first start. At launch, MOD O.N. will be dedicated to two underserved populations: individuals who have been justice-involved and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). 

    There is a large pool of overlooked talent across the United States. Amid an increasingly tight labor market, companies can fill their employment pipeline with a population that is dedicated, loyal and ready to work. MOD O.N. taps into this talent pool and is the restaurant industry’s first national program offering fair and equitable employment opportunities and the key support services to ensure job success. 

    Nearly 80 million adult Americans (1 in 3) are justice-involved (The Sentencing Project) and the unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people is five times higher than the unemployment rate for the general U.S. population (Prison Policy Initiative). More than 60% of formerly incarcerated individuals are unemployed one year after being released (The Sentencing Project). Studies show that pre- and post-release employment services are critical in order to reduce recidivism and help people quickly integrate back into society (Prison Policy Initiative). 

    One in four adults in the U.S. (26%) live with some form of disability (CDC). For adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 85% do not have a paid job in their community (National Core Indicators). Additionally, 40% of individuals in the U.S. who have a disability experience social isolation (Statista). Having a job not only provides a paycheck, but a sense of purpose and belonging. 

    MOD O.N. will launch in 11 states, serving 29 cities, activating national and regional organizations to help MOD scale its fair chance hiring practice and create a model for other businesses. While a job is a first step, barriers can extend beyond employment, from transportation to housing, technology to banking and more. Through MOD O.N., key partners will help provide critical wrap around services to further provide stability and help to improve job success. 

    Goodwill Industries International:  The leading workforce provider of job training and placement services in North America for individuals who are impacted by the justice system. 

    FareStart: Provides job training and support services to individuals and consulting to employers who share a commitment to creating inclusive workplaces. 

    Hospitality Opportunities for People ReEntering Society (HOPES): A National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) program that partners with Departments of Corrections, community-based organizations, and State Restaurant Associations to connect adults with justice-involvement to career opportunities in the restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality industry. 

    Best Buddies International: The Best Buddies Jobs Program connects employers and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to job opportunities and provides on-site job coaches and support throughout the duration of employment. 

    Meadowlark Employment Services: A key provider of employment training and support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Oregon and Idaho. 

    By the end of 2024, the goal is for expansion of the MOD Opportunity Network into at least 21 states. 

    “We know first-hand the impact inclusive hiring can have on our Squad, our culture, and the communities we serve. As MOD grew, we needed a sustainable, nationwide approach to help scale our work in this area. Surprisingly, a solution did not exist,” says Ally Svenson, co-founder of MOD Pizza. “Our entrepreneurial mindset motivated us to address this challenge. With the MOD Opportunity Network, we have a scalable, cost-effective solution that leverages the power of for-profit business working alongside non-profit partners. Together, we will break down barriers, create more opportunities, and help contribute to a world that works for and includes everyone. We hope to provide some inspiration and learnings for other like-minded organizations and companies along the way.” 

    Adds Anthony K. Shriver, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Best Buddies International, “MOD’s dedication to hiring individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) is truly exemplary and our shared values of acceptance, inclusion and belonging empower people with IDD to flourish and lead fulfilling and productive lives. Best Buddies Jobs candidates possess a diverse range of skills, abilities and qualifications that they bring to the workplace. Employing individuals with disabilities is a smart business decision for companies.” 

    “With the innovative approach of the MOD Opportunity Network, those impacted by the justice system can have the second chance they deserve,” says Martin Scaglione, Chief Mission Officer, Goodwill Industries International. “Without the support of employers, the cycle of incarceration could potentially continue. It’s our hope that all businesses will consider the quality of an applicant rather than focusing on their past.” 

    News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.