If you are a local business struggling to find workers, one viable avenue to explore is hiring second chance employees; i.e. individuals who have a criminal background. According to a recent report, 600,000 men and women are released from jail each year nationally. The unemployment rate amongst these individuals is 27%, whereas the national average for unemployment in the U.S. is at 5.4%. Social stigmas can create a lack of trust that makes some employers reluctant to hire ex-offenders but there is proof that hiring second chance workers provides major advantages to both the employer, the individual, and supports an inclusive community. For example, based on several case studies from around the United States, formerly incarcerated employees demonstrated a greater loyalty to employers than those without a criminal record. Two years after release, second chance employees were twice as likely to avoid arrest as their unemployed counterparts. *
Two major incentives to “background friendly employers” are:
Employers who hire second chance workers can receive a tax-credit up to $9,600 per employee. More information can be found at www.ides.illinois.gov/jobs-workforce/programs/wotc.
Federal Fidelity Bonding:
To negate potential risks associated with hiring an individual with a criminal history, a no-cost insurance coverage is available to protect employers against potential employee dishonesty, theft, or embezzlement.
More information can be found at www.ides.illinois.gov/jobs-workforce/programs/fidelity-bonding.
Several organizations in our area serve as a conduit to connect “background friendly” employers with prospective second chance employees. Below are just a few of the many resources:
•Kane County Sheriff’s Office
Contact: Judy Dawson, Director of Administration | DawsonJudith@CountyofKane.org
Contact: Ron Schlager | (630) 955-2037 | email@example.com
Contact: Linda Martin | (630) 966-0252 | firstname.lastname@example.org
There are numerous federal and state bills in play to further pave the way for employers to successfully hire and retain workers with a criminal record. We will keep a watchful eye as these policies are debated and brought to vote by our elected officials.
Please reach out if you have questions or comments on this issue and other policies impacting the business community.