Your organization can be part of the solution — hiring good people who have been involved with the justice system. LAEDC is directly supporting the Fair Chance hiring initiative, and we commend LA County’s Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) for leading this positive change in the greater region. We all need to help remove barriers to employment for people who have been involved in the justice system. Visit the County’s website here: https://fairchance.lacounty.gov/
Astonishing as it sounds, about 1 in 3 of the nation’s adult population have a criminal record on file. They are our mothers, brothers, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. When you give a reentry job seeker a fair chance, you help rebuild lives. Importantly, justice-involved individuals have been shown to make great employees. Data shows these new employees are posting the same or higher retention rates as other employees, they work hard, and are moving from lives of dependence to independence.
As you may know, the County of Los Angeles launched the Fair Chance Hiring Campaign September 9th 2019. Beyond participating in hiring, we ask that you have your public information staff, outreach coordinators and external relations personnel support the campaign.
Beyond the personal impact your support creates, here are a few incentives to consider:
- In 2016, LA County adopted a Local and Targeted Worker Policy for all County-sponsored construction and development projects with a budget of $500K or greater.
- This establishes a mandatory hiring goal – at least 30% of labor hours must be performed by a qualified Local Resident and 10% by residents classified as Targeted Worker, which includes the formerly incarcerated. This means that businesses are better positioned to win County contracts if they hire the formerly incarcerated.
- Businesses that contract with LA County must certify compliance with Fair Chance hiring standards. County contracts will now include Fair Chance language. This applies to County contractors and subcontractors and includes both renewed and amended contracts.
- The Federal Bonding Program funded through the U.S. Department of Labor provides fidelity insurance bonds to indemnify employers for losses sustained through theft, forgery, larceny and embezzlement. These bonds are good through 6 months and up to the amount of $10,000 at no cost.
- The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a Federal tax credit incentive available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment, including ex-felons. If you hire a qualified ex-felon you can receive a tax credit of up to $2,400 or the equivalent of 40% of the first year’s qualified wages if the employee works at least 400 hours.
It is possible that a justice-involved individual that you’re interested in hiring might qualify under several different target groups, which may offer higher tax credit rates of up to $9600. An employer may apply for as many prospective employees as it wishes – there is no limit to the number of new hires who can qualify.
- On-the-job training (OJT) can be used by employers who are providing occupational training to eligible employees to offset a portion of the costs associated with the time/materials/reduced productivity a business may experience while training a new employee. The employer can be reimbursed for up to 75% of the trainee’s wage to cover the above costs. Duration can vary, but most often 6 months is the longest duration. This program applies to various Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) eligible participants, including the formerly incarcerated. This means that businesses who are prepared to train the formerly incarcerated can be reimbursed a significant percentage of those training costs.
We at LAEDC truly value your hard work and commitment to Fair Chance Hiring.