How to help people who have a history of incarceration succeed in the workforce

For some Americans, obtaining and maintaining employment is a lot of work. One of the biggest barriers to meaningful employment and a living wage is a history of justice involvement. While an increasing number of businesses are expanding their application process to include people with a criminal background, there is still work to be done to help previously incarcerated individuals succeed once they land a job. If you are a business owner or oversee hiring, here are some things you can do to help change this dynamic for people in our community. 

Reconsider your hiring practices

Recent findings report there are 10.1 million job openings and only 5.8 million unemployed persons. How can these roles be filled if there aren’t enough people to work? Answer: previously incarcerated individuals. As of 2010, 19 million Americans have a felony record. As the employment crisis perpetuates, several large companies have altered their hiring practices to include people with a criminal record, including Amazon, FedEx, Microsoft, Walmart, Google and many more.

If you’re struggling to fill positions and work in a field where our students can thrive using the knowledge and skills learned from our program, we encourage you to contact us at 901-272-3700 to learn more about getting involved.

Become a mentor

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may 

see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

– Matthew 5:16

As followers of Christ, we’re called to share the Good News through our thoughts, actions and words. What better way to do that than pouring into the lives of others? At Hope2Hire, we have several opportunities to get involved with our students, but one of the most meaningful ways is through mentorship.

Hope2Hire mentors are paired with a student in the Shelby County Division of Corrections during their final months of incarceration. They provide care and support as students learn new job skills, finish educational training and build the foundation for a Christ-centered life. This role also sees the student through their first year of reentry, acting as a prayer warrior and encourager to help navigate them through this new chapter in life.

If you’d like to learn more about our mentorship program and volunteer opportunities, please contact our community engagement coordinator, Matt Carter.

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