Excerpted from a SHRM blog by Kathy Gurchiek

At a time when unemployment is at a 17-year low of 3.9 percent and 70 million Americans—or 1 in 3 adults—have a criminal record, employers are widening their search for job candidates to include people with criminal histories. U.S. employers are willing to hire someone with a record if that applicant is the best person for the job, according to a study from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) released today.

Employers are willing to consider candidates with criminal histories if they have good references, a solid performance record and a certificate of rehabilitation and are trained in skills the employer is seeking, according to the report. Six states—Arizona, California, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey and New York—offer rehabilitation certificates or something similar.

In fact, two-thirds of managers and three-fourths of HR professionals have hired people who committed misdemeanors or substance-related felonies such as DUIs. Fewer report hiring people convicted of violent or theft felonies. And more than two-thirds of HR professionals who have hired people with criminal histories think their quality of work is as high as or higher than the work of employees who don’t have a criminal record.

The findings are from a survey SHRM conducted with 1,228 HR professionals in March and interviews that the national opinion research center, NORC at the University of Chicago, conducted with 540 managers—including members of the C-suite—and 512 nonmanagers in March and April. CKI helped fund the research.

You can read the full story here.