Key Takeaways :
Large tech companies such as Slack are adopting Fair Chance employment policies and practices
An analysis of real-world efforts to implement Fair Chance hiring in the tech industry yields concrete strategies for addressing sector specific challenges
Collaborating with industry peers can be an effective way for companies to share best practices without having to reinvent the wheel
In 2018, Slack, The Last Mile, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and FREEAMERICA founded Next Chapter to create pathways for people returning to their communities after incarceration, with the goal of helping them obtain skilled, high-paying jobs in the tech sector. As of 2022, Next Chapter has become a project of the Tides Center, and 13 more major companies have become partners, committing to hire returning persons and share their experiences with others.
A playbook published by the Aspen Institute in partnership with Next Chapter summarizes learnings from interviews with 40 individuals across 6 large tech companies and 13 nonprofits working to implement Fair Chance hiring in the tech industry. These takeaways describe challenges and advantages tech companies have in adopting Fair Chance employment practices, concrete steps they can take, as well as how the sector is uniquely positioned for impact.
At the firm level tech companies:
Focus more on skills and output than individual employee education and background
Generally have less formal workplace cultures
Have higher average salaries and benefits
More skills conducive to stable careers
Make investing in people returning from prison especially impactful to their communities.
Given the tech sector’s influence— both for its reputation for innovation and for contributing an estimated $2 trillion a year in economic value in the US— tech companies implementing Fair Chance hiring have an opportunity to change the status quo at their firm and beyond.