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Fair Chance Hiring

Addressing the Talent Shortage

Even as labor shortages have arisen across the country, a large portion of the population continues to face severe limitations to gaining employment because of a criminal record. The need and opportunity to engage these individuals has taken on new urgency, presenting a challenge that businesses can tackle for the growth of their talent pools and communities.


Nearly 1 in 3 U.S. adults is effectively cut out of the labor market or severely limited due to a criminal record.

The resulting damage to individuals, society, and the economy has received significant attention in recent years.
Millions unable to gain family-supportive employment
Labor shortages across the economy
Businesses cannot meet their needs for talent

Trauma and toxic stress create extraordinary challenges.


of Americans experience a traumatic event in their lives.


of employees say their manager is equipped to support their mental health.


people quit their jobs in August 2021.


roles remain open—the highest number ever reported.


Return for each dollar organizations spend on mental health treatment.

Chicagoland residents are particularly hard-hit.

Proximity to violence increases symptoms of trauma.


for those who live within 7.5 blocks of a violent event.


for those who live within 4.5 blocks of a violent event.


Business involvement and leadership are essential to expanding the talent pool to include millions who can become engaged and productive employees.

The Fair Chance Hiring initiative enables companies to reduce barriers to hiring individuals with criminal records by tapping into the expertise and perspective of leading local and national organizations. The heart of this initiative is peer-to-peer exchange among companies who are committed to changing their talent acquisition processes.
Promote local models of successful second-chance hiring
Focus on the internal changes employers can make
Build a cross-industry group of local champions for second-chance hiring

Increase the number of people with criminal records gaining productive, family-supportive employment.

The next-generation leader will have to dig deeper into untapped talent pools. This will require experimentation, flexibility, and creativity not always associated with staffing functions.
Jeffrey D. Korzenik
Author, Untapped Talent

How it works.

Cohort Model
Using a cohort model, this initiative fosters a trusting environment in which participating companies share experiences and challenges, learn from experts about potential solutions, and receive support from others working on reducing barriers and expanding opportunities.
Corporate Coalition of Chicago and the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance are coming together to launch this business-led initiative in September 2022. The Fair Chance Hiring initiative utilizes the expertise and perspective of leading local organizations who serve individuals with criminal records and address re-entry barriers, companies currently working on these issues, recognized experts, and national organizations including the Second Chance Business Coalition.
Requirements of cohort members are based on elements of success identified by companies already deeply engaged in second-chance hiring. These include:
Executive-level commitment. The CEO of each cohort member makes a commitment to hiring qualified individuals with criminal records based on experience gained in the program. The cohort member company acknowledges its participation publicly.
Consistent internal leadership and participation in change efforts. Lead staff engages consistently to build a trusting environment and share challenges, ideas, and solutions candidly.
Willingness to work collaboratively to identify solutions. The cohort meets monthly for nine to twelve months.
Cohort members participate in a learning series twice per month, building skills and a foundational understanding of resilience practices.
Multi User
Unlimited Viewers
Pro Insights
Integrations with Figma, Jira, Dropbox
Cohort members share their own experiences, challenges, solutions, and resources in meetings and smaller affinity groups to accelerate shared progress.
Multi User
Unlimited Viewers
Pro Insights
Integrations with Figma, Jira, Dropbox
Taking Action
Cohort members take action in ways that work for their organization, based on ideas in the learning series, a customized assessment, and a catalog of services and expertise.
Multi User
Unlimited Viewers
Pro Insights
Integrations with Figma, Jira, Dropbox

Reducing barriers to hiring means expanded talent pools and stronger communities.

Overcome internal roadblocks with external support.
Program content is designed to meet the specific needs of participating companies, empowering them to identify and reduce barriers to hiring.
Widen talent pools.
By changing their approaches to identifying, assessing, onboarding, and promoting talent, cohort members will increase the number of successful hires.
Build more stable communities.
When companies commit to second-chance hiring, they help create a more vibrant, equitable, and prosperous region.