Today things are changing, and the Government is working to assist felons secure jobs. But note under “Ban the Box”, it does not take away the question in an application if the employer is seriously looking at the job application.
Jobs for Felons: Government Help For Felons Looking for Jobs
Jobs for Felons: Government Help For Felons Looking for Jobs – There is a growing trend in this country toward hiring ex-offenders and felons. In the past, this group of individuals has been shunned and discriminated against when it comes to employment. There were few employers willing to give those with criminal records an equal opportunities at jobs. Times are changing. More and employers are removing barriers that keep felons from getting jobs.
Studies have shown that former felons with jobs help to build families. They contribute to safer neighborhoods that in turn mean better communities.
The cost of incarceration per inmate varies from state to state, and ranges from $31, 000 to $60,000.
When ex-offenders and felons get jobs, they become taxpayers rather than drains on the American economy. Furthermore, when they are returned to families with jobs, the families are less dependent on welfare and other social programs. It makes sense to everyone that barriers to employment and education be removed.
There are companies that hire felons. For employers, people with criminal records, who are not an immediate threats to society, are an excellent source of potential employees.
Education for Felons
More penal systems are investing in educational programs. The great majority of incarcerated individuals do not have high school diplomas. Resources used for diploma and GED programs is money well spent in terms of lowering recidivism. Research has shown that the higher the degree, the lower the risk of returning to prison. Removing the barriers to higher education further lowers the risk of recidivism.
In the past ex-offenders and felons have been excluded from entrance to colleges and universities based on their legal status. Criminal records have also been a major factor in disqualifying some people from access to financial aid and other assistance.
The Government is Helping
Work Opportunity Tax Credit
The federal government is helping more ex-offenders and felon get jobs by offering two programs. The first one is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. This is a tax credit offered by the government that is available to employers who hire individuals from target groups with significant employment barriers (e.g., veterans, ex-felons, etc.). Employers can get tax credits up $9,600 per year for each employee from one of the target groups.
One of these target groups is felons who get hired within one year of their release from prison or the completion of parole/probation. This is a great incentive for employers especially small companies who want to get a good employees and save on their taxes too.
Take a look at the video below to see how you can make the Work Opportunity Tax Credit Work for you or someone you know.
Jobs for Felons: Work Opportunity Tax Credits
Federal Bonding Program
The other federal program is the Federal Bonding Program. A bond is an insurance policy that protects employers from theft, fraud or other loss of valuable caused by employee dishonesty. In many cases, ex-offenders and felons cannot be bonded by private companies.
Employers may be more open to hire a person with a criminal record if there is little risk in hiring him or her. Bonds are provided through your state’s department of labor and can provided the same day if you have promise of employment. Since you know you can be bonded, when you get to the section of the application that asks “Have you ever been convicted of a crime…..” always be honest, but at the end you can add, “Can be Bonded.” That will let the employer know that he will be protected against any type of theft. Watch the video below to see how the Federal Bonding Program can help you get a job.
Jobs for Felons: Federal Bonding Program
Jobs for Felons: Government Help For Felons Looking for Jobs
The Ban-the Box is a movement which encourages employers to remove questions relating to criminal records from applications. Congress is moving to have federal agencies and contractors not ask about an applicant’s criminal past until the applicant is seriously being considered for employment. Currently, more than two dozen states have eliminated the question from applications and many more are are moving forward in legislation.
Many ex-offenders and felons complete career training programs both during and after incarceration. Unfortunately, people with criminal records have routinely had difficulty with getting licensed in most states. People with criminal records who are barbers, cosmetologists and other skilled workers have been unable to obtain licenses.
Alabama has recently enacted a law that stops the occupational licensing board from instantly denying applications based on a criminal conviction. Under the new law, if anyone is denied an occupational license, they can petition the court to review the matter. Hopefully, other states will follow Alabama’s lead making it easier for other previously incarcerated people to be licensed in their respective fields.
Fair Chance Employment and Education
These programs are a step in the right direction when it comes to helping ex-offenders and felons get more opportunities for jobs. There is also a movement by large corporations who are dedicated to giving people with criminal records a fair chance at jobs. They have signed what is known as the Fair Chance Pledge.
Jobs for Felons: Fair-Chance Hiring
Companies signed the pledge to eliminate the “Have you been convicted of a crime….” question from their employment applications. They further agree to hold any questions about an applicant’s criminal record until later in the hiring process. This allows the hiring person to focus on the applicant’s qualifications rather than criminal background.
Among the growing list of companies and educational institutions that have signed the pledge that guarantees fair hiring practices and fair access to education are:
Arizona State University
City University of New York
The Coca-Cola Company
The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System
University of Pennsylvania
• Train and instruct human resources and hiring managers to make fair decisions regarding applicants with criminal records
• Make certain jobs, internships and job training opportunities are available to individuals with criminal records
• Commit to considering applicants with convictions older than five years as if they have no record
• Host Fair Opportunity Job Fairs.
This is just a partial list of companies that have signed the Fair Chance Pledge. Click Here for an expanded list.
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