In the News
As an employer, you constantly look for creative ways to fill positions and retain talented employees. You seek candidates who:
- ✓ Possess the technical skills you need.
- ✓ Are reliable, competent, efficient, and professional.
- ✓ Will remain loyal and want to grow with your company.
- ✓ Are excellent communicators and team players.
The truth is that many men, women, and youth with past criminal histories own these attributes and are ready to help your business or organization succeed. That being said, there have been roadblocks that have prevented these individuals from succeeding in the workplace. Take a look at the following Successful Hiring Practices and Training Success to see how this talent is being harnessed in innovative ways. Listen as employers, service providers, and individuals with past criminal histories change the paradigm from “Ex-offenders need not apply” to “This is a labor pool that deserves serious consideration.”
Successful Hiring Practices
Champions of Change and The Ready to Work Partnership
All across the country, ordinary Americans are doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. Champions of Change allows this Administration to identify, recognize, and honor extraordinary people who are enabling employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals.
Nominated by the American people and chosen by the White House, employment leaders will be invited to the White House to celebrate their accomplishments and showcase their action in support of stronger and safer communities.
Champions of Change represent those employers who are:
- Providing job opportunities to individuals with a criminal record and/or creating and implementing model screening or hiring policies,
- Following a period of incarceration are personally demonstrating an exemplary record of employment or entrepreneurial success and in turn providing employment opportunities and mentorship to the reentry population,
- Creating effective education, training, mentoring and other transitional programs to help individuals with a criminal record improve employment outcomes,
- Advocating for policy and legislative changes that lead to increased employment opportunities for individuals with a criminal record; and/or
- Leveraging technology to increase access to employment-related reentry services, education and skills-building for individuals with a criminal record.
Browse through the pages on this website to learn how you and your company can become your community’s Champions of Change.
Ready to Work Partnership
Champions of Change is part of the President’s commitment to help the long-term unemployed. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Ready to Work Partnership was authorized by President Obama to serve the long term unemployed which include many of the formerly incarcerated population. This grant competition will support and scale innovative partnerships between employers, nonprofit organizations, and America's public workforce system. This effort is aimed at building a pipeline of talented U.S. workers while offering help to those experiencing long-term unemployment gain access to employment services that provide opportunities that result in a to return to work in middle- and high-skill jobs. Approximately 20 to 30 grants ranging from $3 million to $10 million will be awarded to programs focused on employer engagement, individualized counseling, job placement assistance and work-based training that facilitate hiring for jobs where employers may otherwise use foreign workers on H-1B visas.
The Value of Hiring People with Conviction Histories: An Employer’s Perspective
By Fernan R. Cepero
YMCA of Greater Rochester, NY
"I have 16 years of experience in the human resources profession. I understand the reasons for conducting criminal background checks on job applicants, but also understand the complexities and challenges of making decisions about applicants with past convictions in a manner that is fair to the applicants, the community, and to my organization. My 16 years of experience has re-affirmed my belief that there is a great deal of value— to my organization and to the community—in hiring applicants with past criminal conviction." Read more.
Pastforward Progressive Placement
By Job Opportunities Task Force
PastForward is a coalition of organizations dedicated to helping people with criminal backgrounds find employment with thriving companies. We believe that individuals who are looking to make positive change or a difference in their own lives deserve the opportunity to do so. Read more.
New Illinois Laws Boost Ex-Offenders' Hopes in Hiring Process
By David Weisenfeld
XpertHR Practical Compliance
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed a series of bills designed to give individuals with criminal records a second chance at employment, including one that gives employers strong financial motivation to hire ex-offenders. Read more.
Why You Should Hire Ex-Cons
By Catherine Rohr
Many business owners have overlooked a great source of untapped talent: former inmates. Many former drug dealers and gang leaders have skills and attributes you value most in employees, including charisma, resourcefulness, resilience, a willingness to take calculated risks, and strong management skills.
Take Jason Wang. He's a 23-year-old who was hired nine months ago as a business analyst at Ericsson. Read more.
Target changes its approach to hiring ex-offenders
Fox 4 News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Target is changing the way it hires by “banning the box”
This means the company is removing criminal history questions from its applications nationwide. This news is positive for ex-offenders like Secundo Williams. After getting out of prison, he was forced to face his demons every time he checked the box asking ‘have you ever been convicted of a felony?’ on job applications. Read more.
Maryland Correctional Enterprises Walks the Walk with Ex-Offender Employment
By: David Jenkins and Rhonda Gaines
National Correctional Industries Association
Maryland Correctional Enterprises (MCE), the prison industries arm of the Maryland Division of Correction, has taken the lead in prison reentry by providing a six month reentry course—Continuing Allocation of Re-Entry Services; along with hiring ex-offenders who have the skills and work habits needed by MCE to be a successful employee and productive citizen. Read more.
Ex-Offender Employment Opportunities
By Erin Kincaid & Alison Lawrence
National Conference of State Legislatures
One of the first requirements for an offender who is released from prison is to obtain a job. Employment increases an ex-offender’s opportunities to obtain housing and health care, comply with court-ordered debts such as restitution and child-support, and support himself or herself and family…State policies seek to balance business interests with employment opportunities that help ex-offenders become productive members of the community. Read more.
Female Inmates at Folsom Prison Offered Hi-Tech Training
By Lonnie Wong
California’s Prison Industry Authority (PIA) has kicked off a program that trains women prisoners in computer aided design (CAD). The six-month program has students working to design and build mechanical items for its construction program. Read more.
Inmates’ good deeds benefit Kansas women, children
By Todd Fertig
Kansas Department of Corrections
Bag it, bow it, tag it. Bag it, bow it, tag it. That’s what students in the Kansas Correctional Industries’ Dental Lab at the Topeka Correctional Facility (TCF) do roughly 2,000 times each year during the spare minutes that intersperse their regular work of making dentures for patients of the KAMU safety net clinics scattered across Kansas. Read more.
By Jan Hynson
UNICOR (Federal Prison Industries)
Most offenders will one day be released from prison…becoming our neighbors. Take a look at just a few former federal offenders who have done just that. Today, they are responsible, tax-paying citizens and family members within our communities. This is where Federal Prison industries’ (FPI) lasting beneﬁts come full circle. They positively impact our communities, reduce government spending, support America’s economy, and provide for the safety and security of our correctional facilities and the thousands of government employees who work in them.
Untold Stories About Real Lives UNICOR
By UNIOCR (Federal Prison Industries)
A common thread binds the lives of the computer specialist, sheet metal technician, recycling specialist, and product development manager you are about to meet. All are either currently in federal custody, or were recently released, having completed their sentences. They and they families have been personally touched by Federal Prison Industries, the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ inmate employment program, commonly known by its trade name, UNICOR. Read more.