On Monday, April 3, Business Roundtable, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Eaton, the Second Chance Business Coalition, the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School and Justice Through Code at Columbia University hosted “The Business Case for Second Chance Employment: Charting a Path Forward with Business Schools and Corporations.” The event brought together leaders from the business, higher education and policymaking communities, as well as directly impacted individuals, to explore the role companies and business schools can play in advancing second chance hiring.
Speakers included Business Roundtable member Hans Vestberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon, Oklahoma Governor J. Kevin Stitt and senior leaders from Business Roundtable member companies Verizon, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Eaton, Schnitzer Steel, Amazon, The Walt Disney Company and PayPal.
With 9.9 million job openings, employers are looking to hire. Meanwhile, more than 80 million Americans who are looking for jobs have a criminal record, creating barriers to employment and economic mobility and limiting the talent pool for companies.
Below are perspectives shared during the event, including the shared benefits of second chance hiring, what academia and government can do to support these efforts, the importance of removing biases during hiring processes and how to maximize employee retention.
On Economic Opportunity and the Shared Benefits of Second Chance Hiring:
Oklahoma Governor J. Kevin Stitt:
“6,700 people are getting out of prison [and released back into society in Oklahoma]. So, how do we train them? ... We’ve set up CDL training behind the wire, so when they get out, they’re ready to go. ... We have work release programs. [In] Minimum security prisons, we have road construction crews. We’ll go in and actually bring people out of prison and actually start them working six months before they get out. ... The whole point is, these folks are going to be out of prison. Let’s make sure they get a good job. If you don’t have a good job when you get out, you’re destined for failure. ... We need people engaged in achieving and being part of a team and working.”
Kerry Casey, Global Head of University Recruiting, Talent Branding and Diversity Recruiting, PayPal:
“What we see is that today, our hiring needs for skilled talent are increasing every year. The complication is that unemployment rates are low and vacancy rates are high. So how do we take this complication and really address our hiring needs? We've taken it as an opportunity to really rethink our hiring strategies and our approach — in particular, trying to think about how we can find talent in overlooked populations such as individuals with criminal backgrounds.”
Tyler Lynch, Principal Solutions Architect, Amazon Webservices and Technical Mentor at Justice Through Code:
“For me, it's personal. I know people who have been impacted by incarceration, and all opportunity stops and they can't progress past that. I've seen recidivism, I've seen substance abuse, and a lot of it's from self-worth and not feeling like you're contributing or can contribute. The reason I focus on Justice Through Code is I need to invest my time and my service work helping others, changing their lives, and opening some doors.”
Dane Linn, Senior Vice President, Corporate Initiatives, Business Roundtable:
"Business leaders realize 80 million Americans have a criminal record and get little opportunity. This is one quarter of the U.S. population. And having a criminal record can present a real barrier to meaningful employment. Not just employment, but also advancement. We don't want to just give individuals a job, we want to put them on a trajectory of upward mobility.”