The New York Times recently reported on the challenges faced by the formerly incarcerated who seek to reintegrate into the legal labor force, “Ex-Prisoners Face Headwinds as Job Seekers, Even as Openings Abound.” Business leaders are slowly recognizing the need to tap into this marginalized workforce. Embracing the formerly incarcerated is more than just a societal obligation; it’s a crucial step forward for businesses. At Greyston, we pioneered collaborations with businesses like The Body Shop and IKEA to disrupt the hiring landscape and unlock potential for thousands of people—including ex-prisoners—who want to work, support their families, and thrive in their communities.
Greyston helps our partners advance their social responsibility goals through Open Hiring®, a no-questions-asked form of recruitment for entry-level positions. Open Hiring may be best known for embracing the formerly incarcerated but for many it is not a second chance, it’s a first chance.
We welcome a fresh look at potential workers, and we remind our collaborators that the search for talent cannot end with the formerly incarcerated. Other employment barriers facing low-income workers must come down. For example, credit checks can be considered a discriminatory practice, and several states have laws preventing employers from using credit history in employment decisions.
With millions of individuals facing barriers to employment at a time when we are experiencing a record number of unfilled positions, it is urgent that we rethink old hiring practices.