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Are Employers Overlooking a Talent Pool?

The answer is yes. In fact, the U.S. economy loses up to $87 billion annually due to unemployment or underemployment of people with records. That is why the Texas Association of Business Foundation formally launched the Texas Second Chance Employers Coalition in 2021.


This initiative focuses on providing resources and sharing models of success to businesses that are second chance employers or have chosen to become second chance employers.


One of the most powerful tools we have to reduce recidivism is providing opportunities for continued participation in the workforce. Second chance hiring helps Texas employers meet their workforce needs if they choose to do so, boosting the Texas economy and improving the business environment by expanding the workforce talent pool.

Leading businesses like JPMorgan Chase, Union Pacific, Refined Technologies, and OnShore Resources have not only been advocates in this space, but have implemented Second Chance programs within their companies. In fact, JP Morgan Chase hired over 4,600 people with records in 2022.

Along with Texas employers, the state is also contributing tremendously. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has a 2030 goal, that 95% of individuals have a job before they are released. TDCJ also hosts job fairs on site where employees are hired on the spot and have a job lined up immediately upon release.

Jeffrey Korzenik, chief economist of a large commercial bank and author of the bestselling book “Untapped Talent” outlines a compelling argument from an economic perspective: second chance hiring is not just a moral choice; it’s a smart business move.

The TAB Second Chance Employers Coalition hosted our inaugural event in October of last year and had the honor of hosting Jeff as keynote speaker to present his case on why second chance hiring is critical for the economy to continue to prosper. Our population is not growing as fast as it used to, and within our society are millions of people with untapped potential—a record doesn’t define them, but resilience does. Workforce is a business issue, and second chance hiring can help bridge the workforce gap.

Because of Jeff's research on this issue, and his experience working with business leaders across the country, he has been able to outline what makes a hiring model work when working with this population, which is also a critical component for employers.

What do employers say when asked to describe their employees who have been given a second chance? According to Jeff, the answer is: grit, determination, persistence, and admirable character – the very same attributes that define our world-class Texas workforce.

-       By Megan Mauro, Texas Association of Business


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