"Since 2010, the United States economy has experienced private sector job growth, a jobless rate below 5.5 percent, and steady growth in gross domestic product. Yet unemployment remains prevalent for the more than 70 million people in the U.S. with a criminal record.
People returning to their communities after incarceration may struggle to find and keep a job for a variety of reasons, including having limited education, work experience, or job skills. Further, there are more than 20,000 job-related statutes and regulations that create barriers to work for people with criminal records, even when they are qualified for the job or have been crime free for an extended period of time.
Additionally, employers often restrict access to jobs based on criminal records, citing liability and safety concerns. Blanket job restrictions are particularly problematic for minority groups, who have disproportionately high rates of contact with the criminal justice system. As a result, in 2012 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released updated guidelines prohibiting blanket bans on hiring people with criminal records.
In many parts of the country, there are more open jobs than there are people to fill those jobs. As a result, a growing number of employers—both large and small—are identifying people with criminal records as an untapped part of the labor market. Several large national employers, such as Google, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and American Airlines, have eliminated certain hiring barriers for people with criminal records.
Since 2014, the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC) has provided technical assistance for employer engagement dialogues on the hiring of people with criminal records in more than 60 jurisdictions across more than 30 states.
This toolkit is designed to help business organizations, public agencies, and community organizations plan and execute local dialogues on hiring people with criminal records."