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Tech giants are hiring folks with criminal records – should you?

Tech companies like Slack, JPMorgan, and Zoom are more open to hiring those with criminal records. Why should you follow their lead?

Person behind bars making a heart sign with their hands representing second chances for those previously in jail or with criminal records.

If the Great Resignation has you scrambling for employees, reach out to Americans with criminal records.

Many businesses that are struggling to find talent are partnering with formal programs that help get formally incarcerated Americans into the workforce.

The Sentencing Project estimates one-third of Americans have a criminal record, which can make getting a job more difficult, but employment is proven to reduce recidivism. Getting these Americans into the workforce can benefit your business and your community.

Programs supporting Americans with criminal records

NextChapter has a mission of “transforming the technology sector by creating a more equitable workplace for formerly incarcerated individuals.”  NextChapter has partnered with Slack, PayPal, Zoom, and Dropbox, to help former prisoners transition to life outside prison, not only in the work sector. In three years, NextChapter has trained 30 apprentices who have all been offered full-time jobs at tech companies.

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Second Chance Business Coalition (SCBC) is another program in its early stages. It supports employers who want to provide opportunities to people with criminal records. The SCBC now has 39 large employers, such as Allstate, Kroger, CVS Health, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and more, that have programs to give people a second chance.

How hiring Americans who were formerly incarcerated helps your business

Cornell University’s ILR School, which has its fingers on the pulse of America’s workforce, reports that hiring formerly incarcerated individuals benefits the company, not only the person and the community.

One study found that hiring employees with criminal records reduced turnover from 25% to 11%. Employees with criminal records tend to be more loyal to companies that hire them.

Another study found that individuals with difficult backgrounds are motivated to perform at work more than those without. Individuals who have dealt with the justice system often don’t have as many opportunities, so they tend to work harder once they do get into a job.

Ignore the myths about hiring people with criminal records. Tap into workforce development programs that train employees with criminal records. Give people a chance to prove themselves.

According to the ILR School, “research has shown people with criminal records who are employed are less likely to commit a crime again.”

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A stable job gives an individual economic stability, which in turn lets them get their life back on track. It’s better for their families. It’s better for the community. And employers can find talented people who will get the job done.

Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.

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