Community before Company
Are you looking for hard-working, loyal employees for your org?
On the road to damascus
Damascus is a game changer. We connect people in our talent network with local companies, which tackles two challenges at once. We are problem solvers–from transportation to personal development– which gives our workforce team the realistic means to find and keep sustainable employment.
Community Before Company — Damascus is a reentry model that emphasizes personal accountability, workforce development and life vision with the workers we hire. Our relationships begin long before individuals (re)join the workplace and long after they have started the job. Damascus puts people first, and we only meet our goals when our employees and employment partners meet theirs.
No Shame in Our Game — Damascus is transparent in its mission. We began with an unconventional approach to solving workforce needs of local employer. Today, we continue to spend as many hours as it takes to educate our partners on the truth about incarceration, addiction and under-resourced lives. If employees thrive, we thrive.
In the beginning
Damascus begin in 2015 as Elevation Industries with one overarching goal: to bring a reentry model to Cincinnati, Ohio, that delivered real results for real people in real time. Todd and Christine Marallen combined their years of experience in both the Corporate and Criminal Justice worlds to create the Damascus Model: putting employment solutions together that benefit everyone in the equation: companies, workers, families and taxpayers. By leveraging professional contacts–and without government subsidy–Damascus built one partner at a time by preparing and walking with men and women returning home from incarceration and placing them into employment opportunities at organizations that recognized the value in second-chance hiring to their bottom line.
From the beginning, Damascus has operated with little regard for how it has “always been done,” who is standing in the way or who quarrels with the ideology.
In 2015, the first Damascus worker, previously unable to attain permanent work because of a felony background, stepped onto the path of permanent employment. Since that time, thousands of men and women who were previously living off taxpayer-funded assistance have found employment through Damascus. In 2016, Damascus became an Enterprise Partner with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, later expanding to the Columbus, Ohio region, in 2018.
Built on the best practices
The Damascus Model was built by combining years of the best practices–both those we invented ourselves and those we witnessed in others. While we agree there are lots of good people doing good things in the areas of reentry and employment, we have yet to find another organization available 24/7 to hammer out the challenges, meet human needs when they arise or create solutions that positively affect both individuals and entire organizations.