SHRM “Getting Talent Back to Work” Initiative Helps Ex-Offenders with Criminal Records Find Jobs

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On January 27, 2019, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – the world’s largest HR professional society representing 300,000 members in more than 165 countries – announced the launch of the SHRM Getting Talent Back to Work national initiative that champions the hiring of ex-offenders with criminal records, an untapped talent pool that has traditionally been shut out of the labor market.

SHRM Getting Talent Back to Work

Associations and companies representing more than 60 percent of the U.S. workforce are committing to the SHRM Getting Talent Back to Work initiative to change recruiting practices to include ex-offenders with criminal records following the passage of the First Step Act in May 2018 which improves rehabilitation and re-entry opportunities for incarcerated men and women, according to a press release from SHRM.

“This is a group we, as business leaders, cannot afford to overlook, as one in three adults in the U.S. currently has a criminal background,” said Johnny C. Taylor Jr., SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). “Not only it is the right thing to do – to give a deserving person a second chance – but it is becoming imperative as businesses continue to experience recruiting difficulty at an alarming rate.”

The SHRM Getting Talent Back to Work initiative is in partnership with Koch Industries. A variety of business and industry leaders representing over 50 percent of the American workforce and including the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation (NRF), the American Staffing Association (ASA), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have already publicly signed the pledge.

More specifically, the initiative calls on business executives and association leaders to pledge to consider qualified ex-offenders for job opportunities regardless of their criminal records, giving those who deserve it a second chance. In addition to the pledge, the initiative provides business and HR leaders with the tools and resources needed to confidently evaluate applicants with criminal records.

A report based on research conducted by FWD.us and Cornell University released in December 2018 entitled “Every Second: The Impact of the Incarceration Crisis on America’s Families” revealed that nearly half of all adults living in the United States – 45 percent or approximately 113 million people – have had an immediate family member either formerly or currently incarcerated in jail or prison.

Ex-offenders with criminal records face many hurdles to re-enter society that include finding a job. A report released in July 2018 entitled “Out of Prison & Out of Work” calculated the ex-offender unemployment rate to be 27 percent, meaning one out of four could not find work, which surpassed the 25 percent unemployment rate Americans faced during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

With record low unemployment, employers should be more willing to hire ex-offenders with the necessary skills to make sure they are not eliminating job applicants with past criminal records who are qualified to work. This trend has been chosen by leading global background check provider Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) as one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2019.

ESR Helps Ex-Offenders Get Back to Work

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – provides ex-offender resources to help the millions of ex-offenders who have rehabilitated themselves and become productive members of society contributing to their communities instead of consuming limited resources. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Applicant-Support-Center/Ex-Offender-Resources/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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