New Law Gives People with Criminal Histories a Better Chance at Jobs
A new law has been passed in Monroe County to help people with criminal histories find jobs more easily. This law, called the Fair Chance Employment Act, is a big step forward in making sure that people with past convictions aren't treated unfairly when looking for work.
Did you know that around 19 million Americans have been convicted of a serious crime at some point? Having a criminal record can make it really hard to get a job. But the Fair Chance Employment Act aims to change that.
Sabrina LaMar, the President of the County Legislature, spoke about how this law will make things better, especially for African Americans and Latinos. She said that asking about criminal records on job applications makes it even harder for these groups to find jobs. According to LaMar, "Black and Latino people with criminal records face a lot of challenges when trying to get jobs." She says that by not asking about criminal history right away, it's a fairer way for people to show their skills and qualifications before their past comes up.
This new law could also be really good for the county. By not asking about criminal history on job applications, around 800 job positions could be filled. This would help the community and the economy by bringing in more tax money and making things safer.
The Fair Chance Employment Act changes how people with criminal records are treated when they apply for jobs. Instead of being asked about their criminal history at the beginning, they can talk about their skills and experience first. Questions about their past only come up after a job offer has been made. This way, the law hopes to stop unfair judgments about people with criminal records and give them a better chance to start over.
It's not always easy for people with criminal records to find job opportunities. Some research from the United Way shows that only about 1.53% of job ads on websites like LinkedIn and Indeed are for people with criminal records. On average, there are only about 15.8 of these job ads for every 1,000 job postings in the United States. But there are some good examples in California, where cities like San Francisco (4.90%), Los Angeles (3.39%), San Jose (2.76%), and Sacramento (2.53%) are leading the way in giving these chances.
Certain industries are doing a better job at offering opportunities to people with criminal records. Retail tops the list, with a strong 122.4 job ads per 1,000 jobs that are open to these individuals. Technology (69.4), education (37.9), and healthcare (34.6) are also making efforts to provide chances for them. In some places, like the National Capital Area, cities such as Largo, Maryland (3.01%), Alexandria, Virginia (2.92%), and Silver Spring, Maryland (2.89%) are making sure that people with criminal records have a fair shot at jobs and a chance to change their lives.
Even though progress is being made, there's still more work to do. We need to keep pushing for better laws and encouraging companies to give people with criminal records a chance. By doing this, we can make sure that everyone gets a fair opportunity and a second chance to succeed.
It's important to remember that this new law doesn't apply to jobs where looking at criminal histories is needed by law, like at the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and the Children's Detention Center.