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A chance to explore 'second-chance' hiring

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Finding a job is one of the greatest challenges faced by people getting out of prison. It’s also a cornerstone to the self-sufficiency and positive community engagement that makes it far less likely that they’ll reoffend.

In that way, helping ex-offenders secure meaningful employment provides a community benefit — helping to reduce recidivism and adding another productive member of society to the rolls.

We can understand why employers may be reluctant to hire employees with serious criminal records. Employees are one of the most important and significant predictors of a company’s success. Does an employer want to take a chance on a candidate who has demonstrated poor judgment in the past? That’s why we encourage employers to attend a Tuesday workshop exploring these issues.

“Iowa’s Untapped Workforce: A Roadmap for Second Chance Hiring,” was developed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa in partnership with agencies including Iowa Workforce Development, IowaWORKS, the Iowa Department of Corrections, the Employers’ Councils of Iowa, and the non-profit America’s Job Honor Awards.

The event will help employers understand the potential benefits of “second-chance” hiring, including tax credits and federal bonding programs. They’ll learn more about resources available to help them find potential employees with the vocational training, skills and potential to be an asset to their workplace. They’ll hear from keynote speaker Arte Nathan, the now retired Director of Human Resources and Senior Vice President for Wynn Resorts and Casinos, about how second-chance hiring positively impacted his employees and his company.

The workshop is free, and presents an important opportunity for employers to learn more and ask questions about whether second-chance hiring will work for their business.

Our employers frequently cite workforce shortages as one of their greatest impediments to growth. We are in a tight job market with many positions that are difficult to fill. Those who have paid their debt to society and truly want to build a more productive life deserve a chance to do so. Our communities are safer and stronger when they do.

In our view, those are three excellent reasons for Corridor employers to explore second-chance hiring to see if it is a fit for them.

What: Iowa’s Untapped Workforce: A roadmap for second chance hiring

When: 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Clarion Hotel and Convention Center, 525 33rd Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids

More information: Contact Linda Mersch at (319) 731-4003 or usaian.usattyian@usdoj.gov

• Gazette editorials reflect the consensus opinion of The Gazette Editorial Board. Share your comments and ideas with us:(319) 398-8469; editorial@thegazette.com

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