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Showing posts with label companies that hire ex-offenders. Show all posts
Showing posts with label companies that hire ex-offenders. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Trucking companies look to felons to fill thousands of driver openings

By KEVIN SMITH | | San Gabriel Valley Tribune

 Trucking companies look to felons to fill thousands of driver openings
John Lauria spends his working hours driving a truck loaded with cases of juice, tea and energy drinks.
It’s quite an about-face for the 49-year-old Rosemead man who spent 30 years in and out of prison for drug and burglary offenses.
Since his last release three years ago, Lauria struggled to find a solid job. But that changed in February when, seemingly against all odds, he was hired as a truck driver for Haralambos Beverage Co. in City of Industry.
“When I applied for the job I was honest with them,” Lauria said. He got the job and now earns $17 an hour.
Lauria owes his turnaround in part to a growing U.S. labor shortage. As the long-haul trucking industry scrambles to fill openings for drivers, more than 40 large operators have tapped an unlikely labor source — felons.
The American Trucking Associations says the industry needs another 51,000 drivers to keep pace with increased shipping demands from Amazon, Walmart and other mega-retailers. The demand has prompted an increasing number of trucking companies to give non-violent, ex-offenders a second look.

Steps to a new life

Making the leap from inmate to employee doesn’t happen overnight. Training, either in prison or soon after release, is a key part of the transition.
El Monte Truck Driving school in Irwindale is among those helping get felons to work. Louie Pena, who handles recruiting and placement there, said the school skips background checks as it’s well known the trucking industry is often a lifeline for people with criminal histories.
“When someone pays $4,000 to $8,000 for training … they wouldn’t put up that kind of money if they weren’t serious,” he said.  John Kearney, CEO of Advanced Training Systems, said hiring felons makes sense, as these job candidates are especially eager to find work. Kearney’s Florida-based company makes virtual simulators used to train truck drivers.
“The concern is where you draw the line in terms of their record,” he said.

Case-by-case basis

Knight Transportation, a Phoenix-based trucking company with local facilities in Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga, hires felons. But they are heavily vetted, according to Vice President T.J. Presley.
Applicants are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, he said, which includes checking their recent and past history while also looking at where they are in life now. 
“There are a lot of great people out there who just came upon bad times,” Presley said.
Knight doesn’t hire felons whose convictions were as recent as five years ago. But those who are hired make good money.
“Entry-level drivers earn somewhere in the mid-$40,000-to-$50,000 range, and seasoned drivers can earn six figures,” Presley said. “We see a lot of turnover in the trucking industry because people with good, clean driving records are in high demand.”
R&R Transportation in Greensboro, N.C., also hires felons — providing that their crimes were nonviolent.
“If someone has a criminal record because they were arrested for drugs, whether it was 25 years ago or five years ago, that doesn’t matter,” company President Karl Robinson said. “But I wouldn’t hire anyone who was convicted of murder or did sex crimes.”
Help For Felons, a website that provides support and resources for felons, lists more than 40 trucking firms that hire drivers with criminal backgrounds. They include Swift TransportationJ.B. Hunt Transport Services, Knight TransportationBarr-Nunn Transportation and Western Express, among others.
Nine of the companies hire people with convictions that are 10 years old or more while others will consider applicants whose convictions occurred as recently as five years ago. Still, others hire on a case-by-case basis.

A good time to be looking

The current climate is good for felons in search of work, according to economist Chris Thornberg, a founding partner with Beacon Economics.
“The shortage of truck drivers is just one reflection of the broader economic situation,” he said. “There are more job openings right now across the economy than there are people who want to work. So people who didn’t have that chance three, four or five years ago now have a chance.”
But they have some catching up to do. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4 percent in January, its lowest level in a decade, yet the jobless rate among the formerly incarcerated stood at 27 percent.
“Right now, if you have a record no one will hire you unless the company has a policy of accepting ex-offenders,” Kearney said. “There are plenty of people out there who have made mistakes in their lives but would have a tendency to go in the right direction if they had a job.”

Employment drives recidivism rates down

Landing a job also could keep felons from a return trip to prison.
More than half a million people are released from federal and state jails and prisons in the U.S. each year and about two-thirds will be rearrested within three years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice.
But a study by America Works and the Manhattan Institute shows recidivism rates dropped significantly for nonviolent offenders who found work shortly after leaving prison.
In prison-to-work programs in six cities across the country, states with overall recidivism rates of about 31 percent to 70 percent saw those rates plummet to as low as 3.3 percent for felons placed in jobs shortly after their release.

Ban the Box

California is among more than 30 states that have adopted a “ban the box” law. That prohibits private businesses with five or more workers from making pre-offer inquiries regarding a job applicant’s criminal history. Inquiries are allowed only after a conditional offer of employment is made.
Despite that law and a willingness on the part of many trucking companies to hire felons, driver shortages are still common. While R&R Transportation has 14 drivers and 13 trucks, Robinson said he’s always in the hole.
“You never have enough,” he said. “Once they get two years under their belt, other companies will hire them. You’re always going to have some attrition. But if you get the right person and they meld with the culture of the business, they will stay. It takes time to get good people.”
Lauria plans to become one of those “good” people. He hopes to gain a strong foothold in the trucking industry — and stay here.
“Getting this job is the best thing I ever did” he said. “Definitely.”

  Trucking companies look to felons to fill thousands of driver openings

Trucking Jobs for Felons

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Monday, January 28, 2019

The Next Step in Getting Felons on the Right Path and Into the Workplace

By JIM GERAGHTY, National Review

The Next Step in Getting Felons on the Right Path and Into the Workplace

The next step, announced today at the Koch network’s winter meeting, is a “getting back to work initiative” designed to follow up on the legislation, launched in partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management, the trade association for human resources employees. The initiative will inform businesses on how to recruit, hire, and keep employees who were previously incarcerated.

Charles Koch told the assembled members of the network, “when you hear that one out of four [Americans have a criminal record], this isn’t just some small isolated piece, this involves everybody throughout society.”

SHRM’s CEO Johnny Taylor said his organization had found that as many as 80 percent of employers supported the idea of hiring felons – but a much smaller percentage had actually hired many. They found three main obstacles among employers. The first obstacle was legal compliance issues, including most federal agencies and contractors that deal with security issues or require a federal security clearance. The second was the perception of civil liability on the part of employers, and a fear that hiring a felon could lead to a lawsuit if the felon committed a crime on the job. The third, Taylor said, was a psychological NIBMY (Not In My Backyard) mentality – that plenty of employers and employees liked the idea of hiring felons, but not at their own workplaces. He’s hoping the “employer toolkit” offered by SHRM and the Koch network will mitigate those forces.

Taylor admitted the liability issue was one of the most challenging, as the potential legal risk to employers varied from state to state. He noted that studies indicate that felons who had been released from prison were no more likely to commit crimes in the workplace than employees with no criminal records.

“Regardless of the employee, you do your diligence,” said Mark Holden, the general counsel for Koch Industries. “We’ve been hiring people with criminal records for as long as I’ve been here, about quarter of a century, and we’ve never had that issue. When you hire someone, either way, you’re taking a chance on them. We’ve hired people from the best schools, from the best background, and we’ve later found they’ve stolen from us.”

Taylor said that depending upon the measuring stick, there are anywhere from 6.6 million to 7 million unfilled jobs in the United States right now, and each year, roughly 650,000 people leave prison and reenter society.

“The First Step Act’s prison reform elements include education and skill training,” Holden said. “More people are going to be coming out for prison skilled and ready to go, ready to get back in the game. When employers choose to put applications of convicted felons in the wastepaper basket, it’s a huge wasted opportunity. A lot of these people are very hungry and very humble.”

Chris Wright, the chief executive officer of Liberty Oilfield Services, said that in his experience, released felons “have a passion to prove themselves. Really, you’re hiring the heart. If they’re going to work hard when no one is looking, and if they’re someone who will do the right thing, even under stress, you’re going to win.”

Holden noted that the while the Koch network pushed for the First Step Act and is eager to see America’s businesses start hiring the recently released, they oppose government mandates requiring employers to hire felons, and want to see employers freely embrace the option.

companies that hire felons

Companies Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Felons | Jobs For Felons | Jobs For Ex-offenders | Jobs That Hire Felons | Resumes for Felons | Felon Friendly Jobs | Felon Friendly Employers | Jobs for Felons | Jobs For People That Have Felonies | Jobs For People With A Criminal Record

Eric Mayo

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

List of Companies that hire ex-offenders and felons

List of Companies that hire ex-offenders and felons
List of Companies that hire ex-offenders and felons

I get a lot of emails about getting a job with a criminal record.  I get quite a few from ex-offenders regarding the list of companies that hire ex-offenders and felons.  We have all seen the list.  It is posted on a number of websites.  I even have a variation of it on this blog here: 

Updated List of Companies That Hire Ex-offenders and Felons 

I have contacted each one of the companies on the list and none of them have official policies that exclude the hiring of ex-offenders.  My list is a little different because it includes companies that have hired students that I have worked with personally.

Many people that read this list are confused.  Just because an employer has hired an ex-offender in the past, does not mean it will hire every ex-offender or felon that applies for employment.  The nature of the conviction of the person applying will come into play.  For example, a person convicted of any type of theft or robbery will not be considered for any type of job where valuables are at risk.  A person with a drug conviction will not be considered for jobs in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes etc.  There maybe even local laws which prohibit those with drug related convictions to be employed anywhere alcohol is served.

Many types of jobs require licenses that people with certain types of convictions are ineligible for. 

I have also met people who have have applied for jobs with some of the employers on the list and come to the conclusion that the employer doesn't hire felons because the employer did not them.  Just by appearance, the person was a poor applicant who just didn't make a good impression or did not fit int what the employer feels a good employee looks like.

List of Companies that hire ex-offenders and felons

List of Companies that hire ex-offenders and felons
Before you apply for any position, you have make sure you put yourself in the best position to be hired.  The first and most important is appearance.

Do you have suitable interview clothes? For men, a well fitting suit with a nice shirt and tie would be the absolute best thing to have. That may not be possible for someone just coming home but I suggest that men at least have dark dress slacks, a light colored shirt and a coordinated tie. You should also have a pair of shoes that you can put some polish on. Not boots, not sneakers…shoes! A good number of my students buy
List of Companies that hire ex-offenders and felons their interview clothing at thrift stores like Goodwill or the Salvation Army store. They find quality clothes at very low prices, clean and press them and they are ready to interview. Never mind how you get them, the right clothes will make the difference. You should also have a neat haircut and be clean shaven. If you wear a beard, it should be neat and trimmed. How do you look? Do you look like an ex-offender with a shirt and tie or do you look like a businessman? Do you look like you are going to a
List of Companies that hire ex-offenders and felons
business meeting? You should - an interview is a business meeting. You should always look like a professional who is there to make a business deal! Always dress like you have an interview even to fill out applications.  You will never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Women should wear a classic skirted or pant suit with a light colored blouse or a simple dress that does not come up above the knee.  Do not wear anything too tight or too skimpy.  Be sure to wear coordinated pumps that are neat and clean.  The pantyhose should match the skin with no pattern.

Hair should be neat and of natural color.  A short hairstyle is best, but tastefully done longer hair is fine.  Fingernails should be neatly trimmed with tasteful polish.  The make-up should be natural looking.  One set
List of Companies that hire ex-offenders and felonsof earrings (no larger than a quarter) no facial piercings or tongue ornaments, one ring per hand and no more than one bracelet per wrist.  If you have visible tattoos, especially on the neck or face, should be covered by makeup.

List of Companies that hire ex-offenders and felonsDo you have a resume?  A resume will present your skills, past experience and other information in one neat package.  Everyone looking for a job should have a resume.  If you do not have a well written resume, you should do what you have to get one.

How are your interview skills.  Once again, you will have to leave an employer with a good impression of you, so brush up on your interviewing skills

This is a great list and a great opportunity for ex-offenders and felons to get hired for jobs.  Make the most of the opportunity!

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List of Companies that hire ex-offenders and felons

Jobs for Felons The Facts about Companies that Hire Ex offenders and Felons (2018)


Tips to help felons get jobs

Jobs for Felons: How does a Criminal Record Affect Employment?

List of Companies that hire ex-offenders and felons

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Mom is a Felon and Cannot find a Job

 Mom is a Felon and Cannot find a Job

Mom is a Felon and Cannot find a Job

I was just checking out your page with the list of jobs for felons I have been seriously looking having interviews but haven't had any luck I'm a first time felon never been in trouble my whole life made a mistake last yr by cashing a scam check that was sent to me in the mail and at the time I was really in need for money I'm a single mother my child's father is incarcerated. I'm charged in Virginia. My charge is felony false pretense to obtain money.  I only got charged because the store owner pressed charges.  The District Attorney didn't want to have charges against me because I have a good background.  I couldn't pay off the restitution before my final court date and now I am on probation indefinitely  because I didn't have to do any time. I have worked for the state of Virginia before in a mental health facility.  I also worked as a kitchen supervisor in a prison when I was younger and I have a lot of customer service skills. I haven't had a job since last year.  I was working on a military base at a store but they let me go because my charge was pending at the time. My question to you is what jobs or companies are more likely to hire someone with a background like mine?

Mom is a Felon and Cannot find a Job


I'm sorry you are having such a hard time finding work.  Unfortunately too many people give up future employment opportunities by making bad decisions.  Because your convictions falls into the category of theft/ robbery/ larceny, your integrity is in question.  My suggestion is to avoid applying for job that have anything to do with working with money or anything of value.  That would eliminate most cashier and retail jobs.

I have had students in your situations.  A few of them are working for telemarketing companies while others are working in supermarkets and factories.

Apply for Temporary Employment

I often encourage my students that have marketable skills, to apply for temporary employment.  Temporary jobs is a good way for ex-offenders and felons searching for jobs to get back into the working world.  According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, since 2009, temporary jobs have made up about 19% of all new jobs. This due to companies looking to temporary employment agencies as a way to keep labor costs down.  Companies hire temporary employees for a number of reasons.  One reason is that it is up to the staffing agency to screen and interview employees.  Time is money and the less time used in the
Mom is a Felon and Cannot find a Job
hiring process, the better for the company.  If temp employees prove to be good at what they do and fit in well with the rest of the company, many are hired permanently.  Temporary workers can be very attractive to small companies. They can staff their businesses at a lower cost than regular full-time employees with benefits, which is  advantageous when they do not have the resources to employ a more permanent staff.

There is a twist when looking for temporary jobs.  There are two basic types of staffing agencies.  First there are the large, nationally know companies.  Companies like Adecco, Kelly Services and other big companies have hiring practices that are set at their corporate offices.  These practices may prohibit their local offices from hiring people with criminal records.  Some of them do, and some of them do not.  The other companies are smaller privately owned staffing agencies.  Because these smaller agencies are locally owned, they make their own rules regarding who they hire.  They can hire whomever they wish.  Ex-offenders and felons stand a greater chance of getting hired at these smaller agencies.

Get Help from your Local One-stop Career Center

One-Stop Career Centers are organized to furnish a full range of assistance to job seekers. The centers offer training referrals, career counseling, job listings, and similar employment-related services.  These centers are the best place for job seekers to get every thing they need for a successful job search.  If you need a resume,
Mom is a Felon and Cannot find a Job
you can get help getting one.  If you need interviewing skills, there are classes that can help you with developing them.  There computers that may be used to access the internet to search for jobs.  Each center also has lists of open positions in your immediate area.  Every center has counselors that can provide individualized assistance.  There also may be opportunities to get training for a new career.  With so many services available, I don't know why more people don't use these centers.  You can find the center nearest to you at the website below:

The Federal Bonding Program

Because you have a theft related conviction, you may want to look into the Federal Bonding Program.  A bond is an insurance policy that are issued in the name of an employee that protects the employer from losses due to theft by the employee.  More employers hire ex-offenders and felons than can get bonded.  Unfortunately some insurance companies will issue bonds for employees that have theft or related convictions.  The federal government makes it easier for certain people to get bonded that may not be able to be bonded by private companies.  This is a good selling point on an interview if you point out that you can be bonded.  You can read more about the Federal Bonding Program by clicking the link to another blog post I have here:

Federal Bonding Program helps Felons get Jobs

The best of luck to you

Eric Mayo

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Where can Ex-offenders Find Jobs

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Ten Steps to Getting a Job with a Criminal Record

Female felon in MD needs job assistance

Jobs for Felons: The Facts about Companies that Hire Ex offenders and Felons (2018)

Female felon in MD needs job assistance

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  Mom is a Felon and Cannot find a Job

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Tips to Help Ex-Felons Get Jobs

Tips to Help Ex-Felons Get Jobs


Tips to Help Ex-Felons Get Jobs
Thanks for stopping by my blog.  You are here because either you have a criminal record and want to put your past behind you by getting a job and becoming a contributing member of society or you want to help someone you really care about.  Getting a job with a criminal record is going to be difficult but not impossible.  I work with ex-felons everyday and many of them get jobs right away while others have to put more work and be more determined to overcome their individual situations.  Here are some important steps that ex-offenders and ex-felons can take to  dramatically increase their opportunity to get hired

 Tips to Help Ex-Felons Get Jobs

Get a Copy of your Criminal Record

At some time during the job search, the question about criminal record is going to come up.  I encourage my students to be totally honest when talking about their background.  The best way to do this is to have an accurate record of your criminal convictions.  If you have a probation or parole officer, he/she can help you get a copy of your record.

Find out if the convictions on your record can be sealed or expunged.  To be clear, NO RECORDS CAN BE ERASED.  If someone tells you that you can erase your record, do not believe them.  There are legal processes that can have certain convictions and charges hidden from public view making your record easier to work with.  Your record, even if hidden from public view, will always be available to all government agencies, court systems and law enforcement.

There are lawyers who make tons of money by using these processes so they are not going to like this but, you can get this done for little or no money.  I suggest to all of my students to contact their local legal aid office.  There you will be able to find out of expungement or sealing is available in your state and what can be done about your record.  If it is an option for you, you can get help getting it done for little or no money.

Get Some Really Good References

Increasingly employers are paying attention to references when considering new employees.  Ex-offenders and felons looking for jobs should be able to provide strong references that will help them make a good impression on employers.  There are employers that will hire a felon and a strong set of references from the right people can help you get hired.

References are upstanding members of the community who would say something positive about you. Good references  could help an employer look past your record. References from religious leaders, teachers, former employers and local political leaders would look great to an employer.

Most employment applications ask for for three references.  You should always have at least four.  Be prepared to list a name, title, and contact information for each one.  Make certain contact information is current and keep it updated.  Over time, phone numbers, titles and addresses change.

Get permission from anybody you want to use as a reference. Let them know that you are looking for a job and a reference from them would really help.  Never offer anyone as a reference without their consent.  Once you have your references all together, keep them in your job search folder for easy access when it is time to fill out an application.

Only offer references when they are requested.  Never put references on a resume.  Include a line on the resume that may say "References will be furnished upon request."

Taking the time to get good references will have a powerful impact on your job search.

Get A Resume

If you are looking for a job without a well written resume, you are at a disadvantage. A resume is a short, concise document that states relevant information regarding your education, skills, experiences, accomplishments, and job-related background. A well written resume will help you present your best qualities to an employer. If you have a resume, have a professional person look at it to judge it's quality. If you do not have a well written resume, I suggest you get some help putting one together.

Dress to Get Hired

First impressions are very important.  What people think upon meeting you depends so much on what they see.  When prospective employers meet you for the first time what will they think they see?  Will they see a potential problem?  Will they see an ex-con trying to get a job?  Will they see a polished professional looking for an opportunity?  That will totally be up to you.

It is important that you look like someone of quality.  A well fitting suit with a nice shirt, a coordinated tie and polished shoes is what most ex-offenders and ex-felons should shoot for.  Your clothing should more for you that anything you say.

Get Some Quality Job Leads

Do you know what type of job you are looking for?  Do you know where open jobs are?  There are many ways to find out where jobs are.

1.  Networking - Networking is the single best way to find out where jobs are.  Networking is simply talking to people you already know to find out if they know about any open positions.

2.  State Job Services - State sponsored employment services have access to job openings and other services that can help you get a job.

3.  Temporary Employment - Companies use temporary employment services when they need help immediately for a certain amount of time.  A temporary agency could have you working on a very short time.  Some temporary assignment turn into permanent jobs.  Temporary agencies cater to a wide array of businesses like offices, restaurants, construction companies and even the medical industry.  Whatever type of work you do, you will be able to find a temporary agency that needs employees.  Check you local telephone directory or search online for agencies in your area and apply just as you would any other employer.

4.   Help Wanted Ads - Help wanted ads can be found in local newspapers. These advertisements can be found in the classifieds section of you daily newspaper, having listings of  open jobs. Ex-offenders and Ex-felons looking for jobs can also use the Internet to find help wanted ads.

Unfortunately, not all job fields are open to ex-offenders and ex-felon and you may not get the job you want right away.  You may have to start at the bottom and work your way up.  Be prepared

Practice Interviewing

The key to successful interviewing is practice.  You will have to practice how to answer questions especially the one you will get that relate to your criminal record.  Find someone to work with you practicing answering questions until you sound convincing.

These tips will get you started on your task of finding a job.  As I said before, it won't be easy, but having determination and working hard will definitely pay off

Tips to Help Ex-Felons Get Jobs

Tips to Help Ex-Felons Get Jobs

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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Shutting former felons out of opportunity is economically foolish

Nearly half of all children have a parent with a criminal record, and the US is losing $87 billion a year in GDP by not employing them

Shutting former felons out of opportunity is economically foolish
Ap Prison Visitor Fee A File Usa Az
(Photo: Matt York/AP)
Our nation’s failed experiment with overcriminalization has burdened between 70 million and 100 million people with criminal records. That's nearly a third of the population. Millions are marked with a scarlet letter that can lead to a lifetime of closed doors.

And closing opportunities — in housing, education and, more than anything else, employment — isn't just morally wrong, it's bad economic policy. 

The two of us don't agree on much — one of us is a former Obama administration official and the other works for Koch industries. But we both believe adamantly in the need for second chances and in the economic boon our country would experience if we fully gave them to people with criminal records who have paid their debt to society. 

And while there is some momentum in Congress to enact reforms on the federal level, the fact remains that the federal system is only a small part of America's criminal justice problem. The lion’s share of criminal records come from the states, and there’s much states can do to put fair chances within reach, no matter what happens in Washington in the coming weeks.

Doesn't make economic sense

Shutting people with criminal records out of the workforce costs the United States up to $87 billion in lost gross domestic product every year. Individuals who can’t make a living legally are more likely to continue breaking the law and are likely to go back to prison, causing costs to rise even higher. Needless, preventable cycles of recidivism strain government resources — and make our communities less safe.

If a job applicant has a criminal record, his chances of getting called back for the job or of getting a job offer are essentially cut in half. Sometimes, that bias is legally mandated. Most states have multiple occupational and business licensing laws that prohibit hiring people with felony convictions. Still more legal restrictions deny formerly incarcerated people access to crucial resources like loans, credit and educational opportunities. And if these individuals want to vote to change that system — well, they often can’t do that, either.

It’s not just individuals who suffer because of this discrimination — it’s entire families. More than 33 million kids in the USA have a parent with a criminal record.

When formerly incarcerated people can’t find housing, their children are often forced to live with grandparents or sent into foster care. These challenges can lead to behavioral and school performance problems that get in the way of a kid’s future — making it more likely for that family to be trapped in a cycle of poverty for generations.

Current laws aren't enough

There are already laws that are supposed to help folks get second chances. States allow people to petition to expunge or seal at least certain records. 

Nonetheless, thanks to antiquated and complex application processes, the steep cost of legal assistance and expensive court fees, millions of eligible Americans can’t move on with their lives.

Clearing those records should be made much simpler. Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature and Democratic governor managed to work together this summer to do just that. They passed legislation, known as the Clean Slate Act, that will automatically seal certain types of records once a person has shown that he's on the right track by remaining crime free for a set period. States as diverse as Michigan, South Carolina and Colorado are seeking to do the same.

It’s a commonsense move that will make a huge difference — both for individuals and for the economy. 

In Michigan, improvements for the formerly incarcerated were seen even during the first year that their records were "set aside," according to a University of Michigan study. Wages, for example, increased by 22 percent. 

And data collected by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute show that most in the business world are open to hiring and working alongside individuals with criminal records.

The midterm elections exposed the deep divisions so many feel in this country. It also marked the start of political careers for a number of state legislators and governors. As they think about what they’ll prioritize during their terms, we hope they'll take up legislation that will automatically seal or expunge records, to give people the chance to start over and strengthen their state and local economies. 

Our nation works only if we keep our promises. This is a chance for state legislators to lead the way for their federal counterparts by moving past the divisions that too often define our politics. It’s an opportunity to come together — to strengthen our communities, to support our neighbors, to give people the opportunity to succeed. When we say that everyone deserves another chance and a fair shot at the American dream, let’s make sure we mean it.

David Plouffe and Mark Holden, Opinion contributors
The original article can be found here:

Shutting former felons out of opportunity is economically foolish

Eric Mayo

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?

From The North Carolina Dept. of Commerce

The share of former offenders finding work in North Carolina within a year after release from state prison declined from 62% in 1998 to 39% in 2014. This article explores some of the factors that may be responsible for this trend, including changes in the labor market that have made it harder to find a job—particularly for blue-collar workers, and especially for former offenders.

In previous articles, we reported that the employment prospects of ex-offenders improved following the end of the Great Recession as the economy grew and the labor market tightened. However, data from the North Carolina Common Follow-up System (CFS) reveal that the post-release employment rates of former prisoners remain much lower than in the late 1990s—a potentially worrying trend.[1]

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?

This article, while not exhaustive, offers some theories for why the fortunes of former offenders recently released from state prison have worsened since the late 1990s. Job-finding rates have declined among jobseekers in general (not just ex-offenders) in North Carolina and nationwide over the past two decades, reflecting underlying changes in the labor market that have made it more difficult to find work. One change in particular—a slump in goods-producing jobs—may be limiting the types of employment opportunities traditionally available to former offenders. In addition, the widespread practice of pre-employment background checks has placed further impediments to post-release job-finding.

The upshot: regardless of the cause, former state prisoners in North Carolina are experiencing worse employment outcomes now than they did during earlier periods of economic growth. Individuals tasked with helping ex-offenders obtain employment may find it more challenging to serve this population than in previous decades, despite the opportunities afforded by North Carolina’s red-hot labor market.

Before proceeding to our theories, we should first note that the composition of the inmate population has changed over time in ways that may have affected the employment outcomes of former prisoners. For example, North Carolina’s 2011 Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA) redirected misdemeanants from state prisons to county jails, thus increasing the prevalence of felons in the prison population. Prisoners’ education levels have also decreased over time, including prior to the JRA, and as a result they may be finding fewer opportunities for gainful employment after release.[2]

Another possible explanation can be found in labor market trends occurring during this period. It has gotten progressively more difficult for unemployed jobseekers to find work since the late 1990s. The share of unemployment insurance (UI) claimants employed within a year after layoff declined from 89% in 2000 (the earliest year available) to 82% in 2014. Similar trends can be seen in survey data; the percent of unemployed workers in the Current Population Survey finding work the following month declined from 34% in 1998 to 20% in 2014.[3]

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?

These declines in job-finding, which mirror national trends, have occurred alongside “jobless recoveries” that feature persistently slow job growth, high unemployment rates, and pervasive long-term unemployment after the end of each recession. Economists have proposed a wide range of explanations for jobless recoveries, including the widespread slowdown in new business startups, which has cut off an important source of job growth; businesses taking advantage of recessions to streamline their operations; and structural changes in the labor market that have yielded permanent job losses in certain industries. These various forces have, individually or combined, helped create a less hospitable labor market for all jobseekers—not just former offenders.

The concentration of job losses in certain sectors—particularly “blue collar” industries—provides an additional clue in explaining the worsening employment outcomes of ex-offenders. North Carolina has followed the rest of the nation in seeing declining levels of employment in goods-producing sectors, particularly in Manufacturing and Construction. The Construction sector experienced steep job losses after the Great Recession, while Manufacturing employment fell continuously from the late 1990s through 2010. Our state had nearly 350,000 fewer Manufacturing jobs and 36,000 fewer Construction jobs in 2014 than it did in 1998.

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?

Indeed, most of the decline in ex-offenders’ employment rates can be accounted for by fewer finding work in Manufacturing and Construction. These sectors employ a disproportionate share of former offenders; in 1998, 12% of former offenders were primarily employed in Manufacturing within a year after release, while 11% were employed in Construction.[4] By 2014, the share primarily employed in Manufacturing and Construction had fallen to 6% and 4%, respectively. Employment in these two sectors fell by 13 percentage points, accounting for most of the 23-percentage point decrease in former offenders’ employment rates. 

Out of Prison, Out of Work: A New Normal for Ex-Offenders in North Carolina?

Finally, we note that employer hiring practices may have made it more difficult for former offenders to find work. The vast majority of employers now conduct criminal background checks on job candidates, a trend driven in part by post-September 11th security concerns and the greater availability of inexpensive background checks. The increased prevalence of background checks makes it more difficult for otherwise-qualified former offenders, particularly felons, to obtain employment; academic studies have found that employers are less likely to consider job applicants with criminal records. Among North Carolina employers surveyed by LEAD in 2018 who reported difficulty hiring, 23% reported that applicants’ criminal records were a reason for their hiring challenges. 

General disclaimers:

Data sources cited in this article are derived from surveys and administrative records and are subject to sampling and non-sampling error. Any mistakes in data management, analysis, or presentation are the author’s.

[1] The earliest data available in the Common Follow-up System for state prisoners covers the year 1997, and the latest data covers the year 2014. We calculate wages in the year after release from state prison, and treat any wage-earning during this year as an indication of employment. Around 3% of released prisoners are released from more than one period of incarceration in a given year; for these persons, we include only the last release of each year. Wage data in the CFS are based on state unemployment insurance (UI) tax records from employers, and thus may omit earnings from federal government employment, self-employment, “under-the-table” jobs, and other work not covered by state UI laws.

[2] In 2010, only 28% of exiting prisoners had completed the 12th grade or higher, compared to 43% in 1998. Source: NC Department of Public Safety, Automated System Query

[3] We use longitudinally-linked Current Population Survey microdata from IPUMS-CPS, University of Minnesota,

[4] Here we define “primary employment” as the sector in which a worker earned the most wages in each year. In 1998, 37% of employed former offenders primarily worked in Manufacturing and Construction within a year after release, compared to 23% of all workers in the state.

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Eric Mayo

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