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How Local and National Policy Can Encourage Better Fair Chance Practices

Updated: Aug 16, 2023




Key Takeaways

  • Local and national policy development is shaping the field of Fair Chance Employment, leading companies and employers to explore new opportunities for investing in and expanding Fair Chance strategies.

  • Cities like Philadelphia and Los Angeles County are taking proactive measures to advocate for Fair Chance Hiring and encourage participation from the business community.

  • The federal government is implementing strategies that will help remove barriers to employment, encourage private-sector hiring, and address systemic issues to hiring people with past convictions.


 

As local and national policy development grows and continues to influence the field of Fair Chance Employment, companies and employers are finding new and effective opportunities to invest in and scale Fair Chance strategies.


Across the country we see cities and counties stepping up to advocate for Fair Chance Hiring and implementing strategies that help encourage greater buy-in among the business community. For instance, Philadelphia Department of Commerce’s Fair Chance Hiring Initiative helps encourage Fair Chance Hiring practices among businesses while also providing key investments in social services that support employees navigating reentry. Philadelphia’s program provides financial incentives, which help cover wages and retain employees, to employers who hire justice-impacted people and commit to their long-term employment. The Fair Chance Hiring Initiative also connects justice-impacted people with available job training and career placement opportunities through partners and participating companies.


Los Angeles County’s Department of Economic Opportunity has also developed a local Fair Chance Hiring Initiative focused on connecting justice-impacted job seekers with local businesses. The Initiative was created to help employers navigate the California Fair Chance Act (Assembly Bill No. 1008), also known as the “Ban the Box” law, while also providing resources and sharing best practices. Recently they announced their goal of securing 200 local business commitments to hire system-impacted jobseekers. With this goal, they plan to add to their database of Fair Chance employers while continuing to provide job seekers with free resources.


Federal efforts have also driven new support for justice-impacted individuals by creating and enhancing job opportunities as well as opening access to business capital. The Biden-Harris administration, for instance, is introducing a multi-year Alternatives, Rehabilitation, and Reentry Strategic Plan, which aims to reduce unnecessary interactions with the criminal justice system and emphasizes rehabilitation during incarceration and wrap-around supports for successful reentry. The plan also focuses on improving federal job opportunities, creating good-quality jobs, encouraging private-sector hiring, addressing harmful fines and fees, and supporting sealing and expungement efforts.


The federal strategy involves various agencies working together to eliminate employment barriers for justice-impacted people and to establish measurable success metrics. This plan serves as a signal to private employers, urging them to adopt Fair Chance Hiring practices and create a more equitable future of work, following the federal government's lead. Private sector employers should take inspiration from this forward-looking approach.


The field of Fair Chance Employment is witnessing the impact of local and national policy development, prompting companies and employers to invest in and scale Fair Chance strategies. These policy efforts highlight the importance of eliminating employment barriers for justice-impacted individuals and sets a precedent for private-sector employers to adopt more inclusive hiring practices.


To read more about Philadelphia’s Fair Chance Hiring Initiative, please see here.


To read more about LA County’s commitment to creating Fair Chance Hiring, please see here.


To read more about national efforts to encourage Fair Chance strategies, read Ken Oliver of the Checkr Foundation’s recent Newsweek article here.

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