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CEO DATELINE – Business Roundtable, SHRM partner with ‘second chance’ coalition

April 26, 2021

A new business coalition seeks to give people convicted or jailed for criminal offenses a “second chance” to reenter the workforce after they have paid their debts to society.

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The Second Chance Business Coalition is a cross-sector group of large employers committed to expanding second-chance hiring and advancement practices within their companies, according to its website. Most of the members are private sector companies, but Business Roundtable and the Society for Human Resource Management have signed on as coalition partners.

“Creating economic opportunity for all Americans requires opening new paths to employment in ways that are inclusive and create a diverse talent pool of qualified candidates for in-demand jobs,” BRT CEO Joshua Bolten said in a statement. “Through its partnership with the Second Chance Business Coalition, Business Roundtable members are underscoring that providing a second chance by recruiting, hiring and advancing employees who have a criminal record is central to achieving that objective.”

Roughly one-third of the U.S. adult population has a criminal record, according to BRT. Research shows that many of those individuals face barriers to employment as a result, thereby limiting their opportunities for economic security and upward mobility.

The coalition is co-chaired by Craig Arnold, CEO of Eaton and chair of the BRT’s Racial Equity and Justice, Subcommittee on Equitable Justice. JPMorgan Chase CEO and former chair of BRT’s board of directors Jamie Diamond is the other co-chair.

The coalition plans to support member companies by developing best practices and enabling companies to share approaches and experiences in hiring people with criminal records. It also plans to launch pilot initiatives to test new approaches to second-chance hiring and advancement practices.

Coalition partner SHRM has promoted second-chance hiring for several years, most recently providing four best practices for bringing on employees with criminal pasts.