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Effective Strategies for Engaging Employers

Dispelling the stigma related to hiring people with criminal records is a significant step in ensuring that all qualified job seekers get a chance at employment, regardless of their past. The Reentry and Employment Project provides policymakers, reentry service providers, and workforce development agencies with ways to bring business leaders and companies to the table and demonstrate how fair access to job opportunities benefits both employers and prospective employees.

Work with Your Chamber of Commerce

Chambers of commerce play a vital role in the growth, development, and revitalization of communities. They often serve as trusted conveners and intermediaries for their members and have significant influence over their regional economies. When chambers actively promote an issue, it is likely to take root in the business community and have a lasting social and economic impact.

Read "Chambers Get Smart on Justice," an Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) article about why chambers of commerce are involved in smart justice initiatives.

Host an Employer Engagement Event

In order to understand and address the challenges associated with creating employment opportunities for people with criminal records, business leaders, corrections and workforce development professionals, and government officials need to engage each other in conversations to answer questions like:

  • Under what circumstances does it make sense to conduct criminal history background checks, and how should that information be used in hiring decisions?
  • What are the liability concerns of employers associated with employing people with criminal records, and what can public officials do to help mitigate employers’ real and perceived risk?
  • What public/private partnerships can be established to build high-demand, sector-based skills among people who are returning to communities after incarceration?

Related Tools and Resources

Select a topic area below to find tools and resources for engaging employers in conversations about hiring people with criminal records.