Millions of people face barriers to employment despite the labor shortage
Don Lee's article in the Los Angeles Times draws attention to the employment issue the country is facing due to the pandemic. U.S. employers reported 10.9 million job openings this summer. Companies have a hard time filling their roles, which leads to more of them being open to hiring justice-involved job seekers.
A small section of businesses has already made the initiative to hire people with criminal records even before the pandemic. Moreover, many states implemented the "Ban the Box" laws to remove some discrimination by banning employers from asking job seekers about their criminal records on employment applications. However, many employers still refused to hire people because of their past mistakes.
As the pandemic led to a vast labor shortage, more employers are changing their minds about hiring from this population. It is not only worth hiring people with criminal backgrounds because of the business and economic benefits, but it also reduces recidivism rates.
Honest Jobs aims to match employers with qualified talent
As the need for employees grows, more companies are taking advantage of services, such as Honest Jobs, the nation's largest employment network for people with criminal records. Honest Jobs helps employers, including Fortune 500 companies, to find qualified talent. Honest Jobs was founded in 2018 by Harley Blakeman, who struggled with finding work himself after incarceration. He challenges businesses to review how background checks can disqualify those with convictions without regard to the job.
At Honest Jobs, a woman applied for an executive assistant position that required handling finances. Because her past included two fraud charges, she was instead offered a job working with employment applicants.
"I told her I cannot give you this job in particular because it's too risky. That's good business sense. But what happens is, the person with the fraud charge applies for a warehouse job and gets weeded out. That doesn't make sense," Blakeman said.
Read Don Lee's full article here: https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-10-05/labor-ex-felons