U.S. adults support removing hiring barriers for those with criminal records

U.S. adults support removing hiring barriers for those with criminal records

Excerpted from an HR Dive Blog by Ryan Golden

Dive Brief:
• Most U.S. adults in a survey by staffing firm Kelly Services said they support efforts to end what they identified as discriminatory hiring practices, including those that screen out applicants who have committed certain criminal offenses.

• For instance, 64% of respondents said nonviolent mistakes should not automatically disqualify job candidates from being able to find work, while 71% said employers should eliminate or reduce policies that automatically reject candidates with minor, nonviolent criminal offenses. Kelly Services surveyed more than 1,000 adults.

• Additionally, 76% of respondents were more likely to support businesses that are committed to removing discriminatory hiring barriers, the firm said.

Dive Insight:
The push to create opportunities for formerly incarcerated people had gained momentum in the years leading up to 2020. Advocates have sought to do so in a number of ways, including by enacting “Ban the Box” legislation prohibiting employers from inquiring about certain criminal history on job applications.

Despite progress, workforce re-entry support for incarcerated people lagged during the initial months of the pandemic, guests of a National Skills Coalition podcast said in April 2020. One year later, this subpopulation of the U.S. workforce continues to face challenges including receiving certain transition services, PBS NewsHour reported last month.

Those challenges have spurred some organizations to step up and provide support. In November 2020, the National Black Chamber of Commerce launched a plan to educate small businesses about training programs for formerly incarcerated people. And prior to the pandemic in 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor issued more than $2 million in grants as part of an ongoing program to assist job seekers with criminal records in gaining employment.

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