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Embracing Second Chances: The Untapped Potential of Hiring the Justice-Impacted

As workforce challenges continue, consider justice-impacted
individuals for your next hire.

by Veronica J. Durden

Events Coordinator, PMPA

Published June 1, 2024

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In today’s competitive landscape, the quest for skilled employees extends beyond precision machining — it permeates nearly every career cluster. The demand for talent remains high, but the avenues for procuring such talent are limited. Traditional trade schools serve as one avenue, but they alone cannot meet the need. Incentivizing current employees to
recommend potential hires, companies can tap into a valuable network. However, there’s an often-overlooked pool of potential: justice- impacted people.
Justice-impacted people, individuals with criminal records or convictions, possess skills that can significantly contribute to various sectors, including precision machining. Despite their legal challenges, these individuals often acquire valuable competencies during their time in prison.

Talent Acquisition

Strategic partnerships play a pivotal role in the context of second chance hiring. Consider these avenues to expand your talent pool:

Local Elected Officials. Develop relationships with local elected officials who actively advocate for second chance opportunities. Th ese officials often have platforms dedicated to reintegration and workforce development. Collaborating with them can lead to meaningful partnerships, as they share a vested interest in supporting individuals seeking a fresh start.

Nonprofits and Workforce Boards. Engage with local nonprofits and workforce boards. These organizations
are deeply connected within the community and have invaluable insights. By tapping into their networks, you may discover untapped talent pools.


Advertising your job positions plays a significant role. If there are specific parts you make that do not mandate a clean record for employment, consider incorporating language in your job applications that explicitly states: “We encourage applicants with a criminal background to apply.” Th is approach not only promotes diversity but also has the potential to attract a broader pool of qualified candidates.

Bigger Picture

In closing, let us recognize the delicate balance within our industry. While certain roles may necessitate restrictions on hiring individuals with specifi c convictions, there are areas where we can explore second chance opportunities. Second chance hiring reduces turnover — a drain on company resources that extends beyond fi nancial costs.
When faced with criminal background check results revealing convictions or arrest records, a thoughtful evaluation is essential. Consider the nature of the crimes and the time elapsed. Weigh the risks against the potential rewards. By embracing second chance hiring, we contribute to a thriving and resilient workforce. Remember, it is not just about business; it is about people — the heart of an organization’s success.




Veronica Durden, MA, SHRM-CP is a human resources and workforce issues professional who specializes in manufacturing. Email: gro.apmp@nedrudv — Website: