April is Second Chance Month – Are You Doing Your Part?

April 22, 2024

As we observe Second Chance Month in April in the United States, it’s an opportune time for employers to consider the benefits of hiring and advancing individuals with a criminal background. This initiative is not just about giving a second chance to the formerly incarcerated; it’s also about tapping into a talent pool that can bring diverse perspectives and skills to the workplace, benefiting all.

On March 29, 2024, President Biden signed A Proclamation on Second Chance Month, 2024, reminding us that America was founded on the promise of new beginnings.  For those navigating the employment and housing markets with a criminal history, their new beginning doesn’t always seem so promising.  Employers not considering this massive talent pool (an estimated 70 million people in the US have an arrest or conviction record) are missing out on providing hope to an underserved population and building up their workforce with loyal, hardworking, employees.

The theory of Second Chance Hiring isn’t new.  In fact, the Second Chance Act was signed into law on April 9, 2008.  Legislators at all levels have actively shepherded in Second Chance initiatives like Ban the Box and Fair Chance Acts, but not all employers have opened their arms.

The fact is, over 650,000 people leave state and federal prisons each year.  These are sons and daughters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and cousins who need a job and a roof over their head.  It would be surprising if you didn’t know at least one person with a criminal record, be it a DUI, or something more serious.

There are dozens of employer success stories who have embraced Second Chance Hiring. You probably meet the beneficiaries of these programs regularly when you pick up your Starbucks coffee, for instance, or your paint from Home Depot.

If you haven’t looked into implementing your own Second Chance Hiring, why not take advantage of Second Chance Hiring Month to start your own program.  Employers who hire formerly justice involved individuals can take advantage of several government programs that provide grants, bonding and even tax credits.

For more information on how to start your Second Chance Program, as well as financial support opportunities, we’ve linked several resources below:

Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)

Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) was extended to December 31, 2025. Employers can earn tax credits for hiring Qualified Ex-Felons with conviction or release dates within one year.

Fidelity Bonds for Hard-to-Place Job Seekers (bonds4jobs.com)

US Department of Labor established the Federal Bonding Program (FBP) to provide fidelity bonds for “at risk” employers that protect the employer against employee fraud or dishonesty in the first six months of employment at no cost to the applicant or employer.

US Department of Labor (dol.gov)

For non-profits, the Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO) program, administered by the US Department of Labor, provides multiple grant funding opportunities for justice-involved youth and formerly incarcerated adults.

Frasco® Profiles is NOT a law firm. The information contained in this post is for general informational purposes only. We are not providing legal advice and strongly recommend consulting your legal resources before taking any action.

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