How This Lawyer Became a Force of Nature for Second-Chance Hiring

Oct 29, 2019 9:30 AM ET

Words by Leon Kaye

As many as one in three U.S. citizens has a criminal record – which means countless people will face a lifelong struggle finding meaningful employment. For many reasons, including historically low unemployment and growing fatigue with the U.S. criminal justice system, interest in second-chance hiring is growing.

Nevertheless, many businesses are still reluctant to hire the formerly incarcerated, despite the success of “ban the box” legislation (laws preventing employers from asking about one’s criminal history) across the country.

One organization that has shown leadership on this challenge is the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which boasts over 300,000 members across 165 nations. In recent years, this organization, the world’s largest human resources membership association, has become a font of best practices, as well as myth-busting, on second-chance hiring.

As one owner of a staffing agency noted on SHRM’s blog earlier this year, “I have noticed that my best employees are the most unlikely and most overlooked: Those who lost the most.”

SHRM has found a proactive, resourceful and vocal ally in Koch Industries, which by most accounts employs 130,000 employees worldwide and has annual revenues of over $110 billion.

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