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Second Chances Can Help Employers and Turn Lives Around

Written by Davaris Cheeks

Second Chances Can Help Employers and Turn Lives Around

2022-05-27 07:07:00

Over the past few decades, hiring individuals with a criminal record has had a stigma. Many employers think there is additional risk when hiring candidates with a conviction in their history, that they will be less reliable, or they will be less loyal to the organization. When taking a closer look at companies that have given these individuals second chances, the productivity and results have contradicted those assumptions.

The Second Chance Business Coalition found that 85% of HR and 81% of business leaders say that individuals with criminal records perform the same as or better than employees without criminal records. Hiring an individual previously involved in the criminal justice system may sound intimidating for most; however, these are typically the workers that work the hardest, stay around the longest, and overall help diversify the company.

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota (GESMN) created a Reentry Program that specifically focuses on creating employment opportunities for individuals exiting incarceration. By utilizing 1-1 navigation and employment readiness training, GESMN’s Reentry Program has successfully assisted hundreds of individuals secure employment.

Second Chance Employment = Fair Chance Employment

Individuals that have previously been involved in the justice system often have to fight through a long list of variables to even give themselves a chance to compete for a job opportunity. The common initiatives, hiring priorities, and staffing shortages that many businesses face can be met by simply expanding the pool of the candidates they choose from.

Here are just a few common myths that many employers overlook:

1.     Individuals must have a bachelor’s degree to work in a certain position

Josh Rubin, CEO of Post-Modern Marketing, said about only half of his employees have degrees related to their jobs. When he’s hiring employees, the most important factor for him is the quality of their character.

2.     Hiring “Ex-Offenders” puts the people in the workplace in danger

There are no studies that exist to support the idea that formerly incarcerated people pose a greater risk to other staff or to the organization than those who have never been convicted of a crime.

As of 2021, Minnesota Department of Corrections shares that 73.8% of inmates released from prison were due to supervision/parole good behavior.

3.     Hiring people with a criminal record becomes a financial liability

Work Opportunity Tax Credit gives employers who hire a qualified person convicted of a felony a tax credit of up to 25% of their first year’s wages if the employee works at least 120 hours, and 40% if they work over 400.

In 2015, Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota (GESMN) was awarded a $1,080,000 Department of Labor grant. The grant will allow the reentry program to continue and expand services that help people with criminal records as they reenter the community and workforce.

The list goes on. Learn more about GESMN’s Reentry Program and join our effort eliminating the barriers that can help individual with justice system involvement, employers searching for more workers, and the communities that we strive to improve.