Nineteen million Americans—including one in three Black men—have a felony conviction, a formidable barrier to integration into society and the workforce. This tragically leads to high rates of unemployment and recidivism, wasting human capital and taxpayer resources, burdening families and communities touched by the justice system. Untapped Talent flips these facts, viewing this population, in particular the more than 600,000 citizens who return from prison each year, as a potential resource for an economy threatened by demographically challenged workforce growth. For people with criminal records, gainful employment is foundational to rehabilitation, but from the employer perspective, such “second chance” hiring requires a specific model of targeted recruiting and supportive employment to be a viable business strategy.

The book documents numerous examples of the types of innovations that the business pioneers of second chance hiring implemented to create second chance hiring processes that delivered highly engaged, loyal, and profitable employees. This excerpt is taken from a chapter dedicated to a single case study of JBM Packaging, a privately owned, second-generation manufacturing company in Ohio. Unlike some second chance employers, JBM did not start as a social venture, but rather a traditional company with a traditional challenge—talent acquisition and retention.

The excerpt begins after JBM began to build a population of “fair chance” (their nomenclature, interchangeable with “second chance”) employees, and understood that employment alone was not sufficient for success. CEO Marcus Sheanshang, COO Dan Puthoff, Change Coach Allison Rambo, and HR Supervisor Ashley Caudill constantly innovated to solve the challenges of this employee population and create new pipelines of talent. The spirit of innovation required for their fair chance program not only delivered a successful strategy, it transformed the entire enterprise.

Read the full article about second chance employment by Jeffrey D. Korzenik at Stanford Social Innovation Review.