As unemployment falls below 4 percent, an 18-year low, employers are searching for untapped sources of talent. Expanding the labor pool to include individuals with criminal records is becoming increasingly more attractive and necessary.
To assist employers with expanding the applicant pool to include skilled individuals with criminal records, CJEI https://cjei.cornell.edu/ analyzes and proposes best practices on the issues of evaluating candidates with criminal records, employment of justice-involved individuals, criminal records education, and occupational licensing. Its work has included national conferences, focus groups, educational public programs, direct training of individuals with criminal records, employers and advocates, outreach, and the development of resources.
What are Employers Doing?
Below are examples of employers who have provided job training and placement services for these individuals with criminal records, which eventually led to employment.
- Overman, S. (2008, January). Staffing Management: In the Shadows. Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/publications/staffingmanagementmagazine/editorialcontent/pages/0801_overman_cover.aspx
What do Employers Need to Know?
It's most important to provide recommendations and evidence for the best practices used when considering criminal records in employment decisions, highlight what strategies and programs exist and should exist for the justice-involved to decrease the chances of recidivism, and provide strategies and evidence for effective ways to reduce unfair barriers of employment for people with criminal records.
The U.S. Department of Labor addresses what is inappropriate to consider when making employment decisions with a person with a criminal record.
- “Background Checks What Employers Need to Know.” U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/background_checks_employers.cfm
- “Best Practice Standards: The Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring.” National HIRE Network, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Workrights Institute. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/142787063/Best-Practices-Standards-The-Proper-Use-of-Criminal-Records-in-Hiring
- Bloom, D. (2006). Employment-focused programs for ex-prisoners: what have we learned, what are we learning, and where should we go from here? MDRC. Retrieved from http://www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/full_87.pdf
- Employment and training administration advisory system - advisory: training and employment guidance letter. U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved from http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/TEGL/TEGL_31_11.PDF
- “Federal Interagency Reentry Council.” (2014, June). Justice Center: The Council of State Governments. Retrieved from http://csgjusticecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Employment.pdf
- Strategies for creating fair employment opportunities for people with criminal records. National Employment Law Project. Retrieved from http://www.nelp.org/page/-/SCLP/2014/Strategies-For-Creating-Fair-Employment-Opportunities-For-People-With-Crimin.pdf?nocdn=1