Here at Jails to Jobs we get regular phone calls from companies asking how they can become second chance employers and hire workers who were formerly incarcerated. And we tell them that the best thing they can do is to learn from those who have already done it.
With a labor shortage that is expected to continue indefinitely, employers are looking towards populations that many have been reluctant to hire from in the past. The more than 600,000 people released from prison each year and 9 million cycled through local jails provide a lot of potential workers. And employers are starting to pay attention. Not just because they need a bigger workforce, but also because, in general, many potential job applicants are interested in an equitable workplace with opportunities for all.
And there’s a fact that many employers are still not aware of. Studies have revealed that those with past criminal justice involvement have lower turnover rates than similar employees who haven’t had any involvement. In other words, they make loyal employees who are eager to do good work and get their lives back together.
Learn more about second chance hiring by checking out our new website section
We haven’t been able to find a resource – other than Jeff Korzenik’s excellent book, Untapped Talent How Second Chance Hiring Works for Your Business and the Community – that tells the stories of these companies. So we decided to create one ourselves. There are many ways to operate a second chance hiring program, each as unique as the people who put it together. And we want to tell their stories.
A recently launched section of our website, the Second Chance Employers Network, does just that. Each profile describes a business, what it does and why it decided to institute fair chance hiring.
We’ve created this resource to inspire employers who may be considering starting a program of their own and included the stories of a variety of second chance employers, from small businesses to large companies. And in industries ranging from restaurants and recyclers to employment agencies and manufacturers. You’ll learn what their businesses are all about, how they created second chance hiring, and what they learned in the process.
If you’d like more information, many of these employers will be happy to talk to you. Most people doing this work feel they’re part of an important movement that is helping create a more diverse workforce and a more equitable and just society.
This is definitely a work in progress, and we’re just getting started on this project. If you – or anyone you know – has a similar story to share, please contact us. We’d be happy to include you and them in our new resource, so that people can learn about other companies that are doing second chance hiring.
Editor’s note: Helpful tips on how to begin a second chance hiring program and find dedicated employees can be found here.