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Helping someone get back on their feet can be gratifying as well as beneficial to your business. Learn about programs and incentives that help both ex-offenders and the businesses that hire them succeed.

Benefits of hiring ex-offenders

While incarcerated, many ex-offenders received training and employment opportunities that helped them build occupational and work-readiness skills.

In addition, some ex-offenders have valuable, hard-to-find technical skills, like welding and machining. And many are willing to start in minimum wage jobs that offer a future.

Incentives for hiring ex-offenders

The U.S. Department Labor (DOL) and related agencies offer two major types of incentives for employers: bonding programs and tax incentives.

  • DOL’s Federal Bonding Program provides fidelity bonds to employers hiring at-risk individuals at no cost to the employer. The bonds guarantee honesty for “at-risk,” hard-to-place job seekers and cover the first six months of employment. Of over 40,000 bonds issued nationally, only 1% have had claims filed against them. To determine your eligibility, contact your state’s bonding coordinator.
  • UNICOR’s Federal Bonding Program is available for eligible ex-offenders who participated in UNICOR employment while incarcerated. UNICOR employment allows inmates to work while incarcerated, producing goods and services for sale to the federal government.
  • Employers who hire people with felony convictions can benefit through The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). The credit allows eligible employers to reduce their federal tax liability by up to $9,600 per new hire. The credit applies to temporary, seasonal, or part-time and full-time workers. To learn more, contact your state WOTC Coordinator.

Need help with hiring ex-offenders or other workforce issues? Contact your local American Job Center to connect with a a Business Services Representative or other resources that can help.