Ex-offenders can make great employees

Individuals with criminal backgrounds are often overlooked or avoided during the hiring process. Many companies are hesitant to hire ex-offenders for fear they pose security risks.

As the owner of a company that has successfully hired many former jail workers, we have found a good number that not only survive but thrive when placed in the right environment.

Many show strong professional growth and over time take on more responsibility. Some have risen to the ranks of management where they continue to excel and receive high performance grades.

They not only make a contribution as a workforce leader, but they also make a positive impact at home with their families and friends.

The reason for this success is to create a model focused on free drama in the workplace. Standards can be set when conflict is kept to a minimum if not prevented.

Free leadership, business, mentoring and financial planning courses can be offered to ex-offenders as they are for other company members. This includes an extensive program with plenty of time for reflection, thought and discussion on both business and personal issues.

Benefits packages that can include tax-free donations to a special fund for those in need, a $ 1,000 gift to first-time home buyers, optional retreats and a weekly market visit are also most helpful in this process.

Nationally many corporations are hiring ex-criminals. Home Depot, Target, Walmart and Koch Industries have been recognized along with others in 150 cities and counties, and in 28 states, using "stop the box" applications. This law prohibits employers from requiring job applicants to check a box indicating that they have a criminal record.

Those who check the box are often automatically excluded from considering work without being able to discuss the nature of the crime. Waiting later in the interview to inquire about criminal history provides them with a criminal precedent a fairer chance to compete for a job. Missouri is among those states that have passed this legislation.

Providing ex-prisoners a better shot at work is good for business and society. Research shows that more than 65 million people in the US have a criminal record, from low-level property crimes to violent crimes. More than 600,000 are released from prison each year. Many believe that excluding these people from the working group is impractical and bad for the economy. Those unable to find work may be forced to return to a life of crime and an overcrowded prison system.

Companies can trust them and give them hope. They can tell ex-offenders to draw a solid line from where they came from and start acting like the person they should be. Then ask how the company can help them.

Many ex-offenders are willing to pay the price for returning to society and have a second chance at life. Those who make that sacrifice have not only become outstanding employees but also outstanding leaders.