Second Chance Business Coalition Working to Lower Barriers to Employment for People with a Criminal Record

With one in three Americans having an arrest or conviction record that can significantly impact their ability to get a job, a group of employers and national organizations recently launched the Second Chance Business Coalition to expand hiring and advancement practices for those with criminal records.

The Second Chance Business Coalition is a cross-sector coalition of large, private-sector firms committed to expanding second chance hiring and advancement practices within their companies. It promotes the benefits of second chance employment and provides major employers with a set of tools, relationships and expertise to allow them to successfully hire and provide career advancement and greater economic opportunities to people with criminal records.

The new coalition will help employers tap into a talent pool that includes the nearly 70 million Americans, or one in three adults, who have a criminal record, by:

  • Developing best practices and enabling companies to share approaches and experiences, learn from subject-matter experts and deploy tools to improve second chance recruitment, retention, manager training, performance and satisfaction.
  • Launching pilot initiatives to test new approaches to second chance hiring and advancement practices. This effort will include partnerships with community service organizations and providers and will use metrics to guide decision-making.

Research shows that individuals with a conviction history often experience significant collateral consequences as a result, including barriers to employment and a lack of opportunities to advance professionally. For example, a criminal record alone can reduce the chances of a second interview by 50%. With labor markets tight and employers struggling to find qualified candidates for open positions, second chance employment programs give companies access to new sources of untapped talent. A Society for Human Resource Management study found that 82% of managers feel that the “quality of hire” for workers with criminal records is as high as or higher than that for workers without records.

“Far too many Americans are limited in their prospects for employment and upward mobility because they have a criminal record, even though they may be qualified for a job,” said Craig Arnold, Chairman & CEO of Eaton and Chair of the Business Roundtable Racial Equity and Justice, Subcommittee on Equitable Justice. “As business leaders, it is incumbent upon us to remove barriers to employment and advancement by allowing individuals with criminal records to fairly compete for job opportunities.”

At least 30 companies that have already joined the Second Chance Business Coalition including HOC Charter member Verizon and other collaborative partners such as Target, Walmart, and CVS.

“Business has an important role to play in making it easier for people with criminal backgrounds to get back on their feet,” said JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman & CEO Jamie Dimon, who also serves as Chair of the Business Roundtable Racial Equity and Justice, Subcommittee on Finance. “At JPMorgan Chase, last year, we hired 2,100 people with criminal backgrounds. Providing a second chance will give people dignity and allow them to provide for their families, and it helps companies like ours expand the number of people we hire to ensure we get the best talent.”