Companies are starting to utilize second-chance hiring, recognizing that their hiring process may omit candidates with disabilities and neurodivergent individuals who provide unique skills and perspectives.
By Maria Leggett
In the newly released 2021 MHI Annual Industry Report, survey respondents reported that their organization’s most significant challenge continues to be hiring and retaining qualified workers. This trend is not new. For several years, finding talent has been a burning platform for industry leaders, even during COVID. The secret sauce for all businesses is the people. Progressive companies are getting creative in finding unique skillsets and productive workers by hiring employees overlooked in the talent acquisition process.
Many companies are starting to utilize second-chance hiring, recognizing that their hiring process may omit candidates with disabilities and neurodivergent individuals who provide unique skills and perspectives required for technology transformation and the future workplace. Leveraging special talent pipelines allows companies to leverage untapped talent and bring differentiated value to their employees and customers.
Providing a second chance
According to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), nearly one-third of the adult working-age population has a criminal record. In 2019, the Fair Chance Act was passed. This legislation prohibits federal agencies and federal contractors from asking about job applicants’ criminal history until extending a job offer. With its passage, 34 states also passed ban-the-box or fair chance laws. As a result, many companies are utilizing second-chance employment—recruiting and hiring people with criminal backgrounds. As outlined in the ACLU report, when companies reduce barriers to employment and equitize their hiring practices, benefits promote economic growth and positive value for the employees and the company.
Harvey Blakeman graduated from college at the top of his class with a degree in operations. Still, he could not land a job before graduating because of his criminal record at age 18. Blakeman eventually landed a job as a production supervisor at Owens Corning. While he felt welcomed in his role, he wanted to make a difference and help others. He pivoted to start his own company, Honest Jobs (honestjobs.co), in October 2018 to help others who were formerly incarcerated find employment. Thus far, Honest Jobs has raised $1.2 million in venture capital funding and was recently selected as one of eight winners of the 13th Annual SXSW Pitch Event.