Getting Talent Back to Work

Helping employers confidently hire individuals with a criminal background.

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Why should I hire

someone with a criminal record?

Many people with a criminal record have made a single mistake.
For millions, that mistake was shoplifting, passing a bad check or having an argument turn into a fight. Nearly one-third of the adult working-age population has a criminal record, and because of a single mistake they will face huge obstacles to achieving gainful employment.
Research shows that job applicants with criminal records are proving to be a viable workplace solution and a valuable talent force for many organizations.

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The leading reasons hiring managers and HR professionals alike extend job offers to workers with criminal records are:

1. Best

The hiring of most-qualified candidates from a truly diverse pool.

2. Second

The intrinsic value of giving people second chances at employment.

3. Stronger

The opportunity to improve the community around them.

2.3 million

Americans are incarcerated.

1 in 3 adults

(or 75 million Americans) have a criminal record.


Participation in correctional education results in a 43% reduction in recidivism.

The key to reducing recidivism and improving public safety is finding employment for people. If individuals with a criminal record can be considered for employment based on their talent and skills, the benefits for the business — and society — are far-reaching. HR professionals are well-positioned to provide counsel and generate a tailored set of best-practice principles that will benefit both the business and the individuals seeking a second chance.
Source: SHRM/CKI Workers with Criminal Records Survey (SHRM, 2018)

What you’ll need to confidently hire and develop employees with a criminal background.

Real People,

Real Stories.

Opportunity for everyone.

Whether an individual has completed a period of incarceration or just has a criminal record, unnecessary barriers persist and create a societal problem where productive citizens are deprived of employment opportunities and organizations are deprived of qualified talent,creating harmful downstream consequences for millions of people.
The Getting Talent Back to Work initiative is led by the SHRM Foundation, the philanthropic affiliate for the Society for Human Resource Management. In response to the First Step Act becoming law, this initiative was created, in partnership with Koch Industries, to end outdated, non-inclusive hiring practices and get those with criminal histories a fair chance at employment.
The SHRM Foundation is committed to elevating and empowering HR as a social force, leading positive social change impacting all things work. SHRM impacts more than 115 million employees through the work of its more than 300,000 HR and business leaders globally. Learn more about the SHRM Foundation at or follow the conversation at #WeAreWork.

Join business leaders & pledge to consider all qualified candidates.

I pledge to give opportunities to qualified people with a criminal record, deserving of a second chance.

If you have any questions or would like to inquire about further partnership with SHRM’s Getting Talent Back to Work, contact

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