Second Chance Employment

by Khalil Osiris

Imagine a world where everyone gets a second chance to turn their lives around, contribute to society, and find meaningful employment. Second chance employment is a transformative approach that breaks the barriers faced by individuals with criminal records, while also benefiting businesses and society as a whole. Are you curious about how this win-win situation can become a reality? Let’s dive into the world of second chance employment, exploring its principles, benefits, and practical steps for implementation.

In this blog post, we will walk you through the essentials of second chance employment, discuss its impact on businesses and society, and provide valuable resources for employers looking to embrace this practice. You will also discover real-life success stories that demonstrate the power of giving individuals a second chance to thrive in the workforce.

Key Takeaways

  • Second chance employment offers valuable opportunities to individuals with criminal records and businesses alike.
  • Unlock the potential of this untapped talent pool by assessing job requirements, providing support & training, and engaging upper management & stakeholders.
  • Real life success stories show how second chance hiring can transform lives while boosting diversity in the workplace.

Understanding Second Chance Employment

Second chance hiring breaks the cycle of unemployment and recidivism, while benefitting businesses.

Second chance employment is a transformative program that offers opportunities to individuals with criminal records, helping them break the cycle of unemployment and recidivism while benefiting businesses. Embracing second chance hiring allows employers to:

  • Access a broader range of capable applicants
  • Enhance workplace diversity and inclusivity
  • Provide employees with the opportunity to transform their lives and get back on track

Organizations like the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation are working tirelessly to promote second chance employment and its benefits.

An estimated 70 million Americans have arrest or conviction records, nearly one in three. Adopting inclusive hiring practices that consider second chance candidates with a criminal record allows businesses to significantly impact these individuals’ lives while creating ripple effects that extend to their families and communities. With the support of organizations like the Second Chance Business Coalition and Jails to Jobs, employers can tap into this untapped talent pool and create a more diverse, inclusive, and successful workforce.

The Impact of Second Chance Hiring on Businesses and Society

Second chance hiring not only transforms lives, but also positively impacts businesses and society as a whole. It offers several benefits, including:

  • Boosting diversity and inclusion within the workforce
  • Strengthening company image and reputation
  • Reducing recidivism rates and promoting rehabilitation
  • Tapping into a pool of talented individuals who may have unique skills and perspectives

Overall, fair chance hiring, including second chance hiring, is a win-win for everyone involved.

Here are the specific benefits of second chance hiring for businesses and society.

Boosting Diversity and Inclusion

Investing in chronically underserved communities, businesses committed to hiring former felons take a powerful step toward advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives. In fact, one in three Black men have a criminal background, which highlights the importance of second chance hiring in promoting diversity and inclusion.

Second chance employment can be a powerful tool for fostering diversity and inclusion by unlocking a new talent pool, enhancing diversity initiatives, and encouraging inclusivity in the workplace. Plus, it can also help reduce employee turnover and boost employment rates, creating a win-win situation for everyone, including chance candidates.

Strengthening Company Image and Reputation

Companies that actively engage in second chance hiring can strengthen their image and reputation, attracting diverse candidates and creating a more productive workforce. Taking a proactive stance on second chance hiring demonstrates a company’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social responsibility, enhancing its appeal to potential customers and positioning it as an employer of choice for diverse candidates.

Embracing second chance employment can help businesses build a positive image and reputation in the community. Not only does it showcase their commitment to social responsibility and inclusivity, but it also highlights their belief in redemption and the potential for rehabilitation. This can significantly improve the company’s reputation as an employer that genuinely cares about the well-being and success of its employees, while contributing to a diverse and inclusive workforce, which is increasingly valued by customers and stakeholders.

Overcoming Barriers to Second Chance Employment

People with criminal records face barriers to employment.

Despite the numerous benefits of second chance employment, employers may face barriers when considering hiring individuals with criminal records. Common obstacles include:

  • Perception of violence or disruption
  • Belief in unreliability and untrustworthiness
  • Fear of liability
  • Cost and time of background checks

Addressing these misconceptions and educating employers about the reality of second chance hiring is crucial. Research shows that individuals with criminal records are not necessarily prone to violence or disruption in the workplace. Moreover, they can be just as reliable and trustworthy as other employees, if not more so. Understanding and overcoming these barriers enables employers to unlock the potential of this untapped talent pool.

To alleviate concerns about liability and the cost of background checks, employers can take advantage of the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which offers generous tax credits for hiring qualified ex-felons. This incentive can help overcome significant barriers to second chance employment and pave the way for a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Implementing a Successful Second Chance Program

After discussing the benefits and challenges of second chance hiring, it’s time to examine how to implement a successful second chance program.

Assessing job requirements and skills, providing support and training, and engaging upper management and stakeholders are key steps for employers to create a program that truly transforms lives and benefits their organization.

Assessing Job Requirements and Skills

Evaluating job requirements and skills is crucial for matching candidates with criminal backgrounds to suitable positions, ensuring a successful integration into the workforce. Employers can gain insight into job requirements and skills by conducting interviews, reviewing resumes, and conducting criminal background checks to make the best hiring decisions.

Thoroughly assessing job requirements and skills enables employers to leverage the skills of qualified candidates with criminal backgrounds, including job seekers, to find suitable positions. This not only helps individuals succeed in their roles, but also benefits the company by creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Providing Support and Training

Providing support and training for second chance employees is essential for helping them overcome challenges and thrive in their new roles. Some ways to support second chance employees include:

  • Offering job skills training
  • Establishing mentorship programs
  • Providing counseling services
  • Upskilling for future opportunities
  • Offering employee supports and career pathways

These initiatives can set second chance employees up for success.

By investing in the growth and development of second chance employees, businesses can help them unlock their potential and make a positive impact on their new roles. This ultimately benefits both the individual and the company by increasing job satisfaction, retention, and company morale.

Engaging Upper Management and Stakeholders

Engaging upper management and stakeholders in the second chance hiring process is vital for ensuring buy-in and support for the program. The support of company leadership is key to the success of second chance hiring. To gain buy-in, employers can present compelling evidence, share success stories, and recommend resources such as Jeffrey Korzenik’s book on second chance hiring.

With the support of upper management and stakeholders, businesses can create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace that fosters a sense of belonging for all employees, including those with criminal backgrounds. This commitment to second chance hiring not only benefits the individuals involved, but also contributes to a more diverse and successful workforce.

Valuable Resources for Second Chance Employers

Guidance and support can negate barriers to employment for second chance citizens

Employers looking to embrace second chance hiring can access valuable resources to help them navigate the process. Organizations that offer guidance and support for businesses exploring second chance employment include:

  • The National Employment Law Project
  • EEOC
  • SHRM
  • Local government programs

In addition to these resources, employers can also join the Second Chance Business Coalition, 70 Million Jobs, and the SHRM Foundation’s Getting Talent Back to Work initiative to further their commitment to second chance employment. Leveraging these valuable resources, businesses can confidently implement successful second chance hiring programs and make a lasting impact on their workforce and community.

Real-Life Examples of Second Chance Success Stories

Real-life examples of second chance success stories demonstrate the transformative power of second chance employment for both individuals and businesses. Organizations like Homeboy Industries, Persevere, and the Second Chance Business Coalition have successfully implemented second chance employment programs that are making a difference.

One notable example is Dave’s Killer Bread, a company that has embraced second chance hiring and experienced tremendous success as a result. Sharing these inspiring stories, we aim to inspire more businesses to adopt second chance hiring practices and help transform the lives of millions of individuals with criminal records.


In conclusion, second chance employment is a powerful tool for transforming lives, benefiting businesses, and creating a more inclusive society. By understanding the principles of second chance hiring, addressing barriers, and implementing successful programs, employers can tap into an untapped talent pool and make a meaningful impact on individuals with criminal records and their communities.

We hope this blog post has inspired you to consider the potential of second chance employment within your own organization. By embracing this transformative practice, you can create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, strengthen your company’s image and reputation, and contribute to a more just and compassionate society.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a second chance at a job?

Take responsibility for your mistakes and humbly explain why you deserve another chance. Express regret without displaying intense emotions to show your supervisor that you are ready to take up the job again.

Use a professional and motivating tone to get a second chance at the job.

Why is second chance hiring important?

Second chance hiring is important as it allows individuals and communities to stabilize financially, improving the business climate for all companies. The data shows that second chance hires perform as well or better than other employees, reducing turnover and boosting employment rates.

Should you give an employee a second chance?

Giving an employee a second chance may be the right decision if it’s a one-time offense out of character and they explain the circumstances.

Showing empathy and understanding can help foster a strong working relationship.

Does Dave’s Killer Bread employ ex cons?

Dave’s Killer Bread proudly embraces and hires formerly incarcerated people, with one-third of their hundreds of employees having a criminal background.

What are some barriers to second chance employment?

Employers may hesitate to offer a second chance due to preconceived notions about violence or unreliability, the cost and time of background checks, and potential liabilities.

However, there are many benefits to offering second chances. For example, employers can gain access to a larger pool of qualified candidates, reduce turnover, and create a more positive work environment.


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