Even though more states are accepting the "Ban the Box" policies, it is still difficult for formerly incarcerated people to find employment. However, the U.S. labor shortage makes employers (especially hospitality-related businesses) rethink their hiring policies and be more accepting of people with criminal backgrounds.
It is essential to forge sustainable long-term employment for justice-involved individuals rather than just filling positions offering minimum wage.
"It's an interesting dynamic happening in this environment that's allowing people … to get some opportunities they may not have had previously. The trick, though, lies in preparing them to build sustainable careers in hospitality, not just low-paying, dead-end jobs." - said Ronald Day, Vice President of Programs and Research for New York's Fortune Society.
To find qualified talent, many medium- and large-scale businesses—not just hotels and restaurant chains, but kitchens in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities—are becoming more interested in partnering with organizations like Honest Jobs.
"If Covid opened our eyes to anything, it's the fact that we can do work differently than we've done previously, and employers are reconsidering some of the restrictions they may have imposed in the past," said Day
Digital solutions are essential to helping the formerly incarcerated in other work-related capacities.
Harley Blakeman is the CEO & Founder of Honest Jobs, an organization that helps employers hire the formerly incarcerated while using technology to avoid negligent hiring practices.
Honest Jobs' algorithm reads job descriptions and identifies duties, then compares those duties to a person's criminal history, suggesting appropriate jobs, i.e., not pairing a person with a record as a sex offender with a job in a school cafeteria.
Read Lela Nargi's whole article here: bit.ly/3vlI4UV