What do media mogul Martha Stewart, security expert Kevin Mitnick or Judge Greg Mathis have in common? In addition to being highly competent, these people have all served time.
Many businesses are putting formerly imprisoned people back to work. In addition to large tax credits and other financial incentives, many employers find highly trained and reliable workers. And these employers help the community by creating opportunities to help individuals become law-abiding, productive citizens.
Hiring re-entering citizens just makes good fiscal sense. They contribute to our economy and boost our gross domestic product. When we hire re-entering citizens, we are overcoming stigma and improving the health of our communities.
Some of the benefits for hiring re-entering citizens include:
- Tax incentives – Businesses who hire ex-felons within one year after they are convicted or released from prison may qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit which gives employers a maximum of $2,400 for each adult hired. Employees must work at least 120 hours in the first year of employment to receive the federal tax credit. Federal bonding programs
- Skilled employees – Many ex-offenders have skills, certifications and work experience others do not. Many have completed special vocational or certificate programs during incarceration and have work experience through Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR).
- Loyal, dependable employees – Because many ex-offenders have a difficult time finding jobs and re-entering society, they often make highly loyal, reliable and consistent workers. Often, employers like Debbie Jakacki of Jakacki Bag & Barrel, a family-run business in Chicago, find ex-offenders have lower rates of absenteeism and a strong work ethic. “The employees that have come from prison are just as hard working and motivated as anyone else she has on staff, she says, in part because they’re so grateful to be given work,” Reuters writes.
- Path back to society – By hiring ex-offenders, employers help individuals become productive, tax-paying contributors to the economy. A steady job helps individuals rebuild their lives, which helps strengthen our community. “We always felt that giving people a second chance was important,” says Jakacki.
Partnering with ROOTS
R.O.O.T.S. works closely with individuals and businesses to match skills with need. All of the individuals in our jobs program have completed job readiness programs, which include job training and cognitive behavior classes. In addition to job readiness, R.O.O.T.S. also works to ensure transportation for all employees to their jobs. Once placed, we monitor individuals at job sites closely and follow up twice monthly with calls to check on job performance and attendance record.