Fair chance employment is a way to improve our communities by eliminating barriers for those with a criminal record and creating a pathway for a second chance. Practices like “Ban The Box” have been a national rallying cry for civil rights groups for some time, which represents the initiative to persuade employers to remove the section of its initial job application form where it asks prospects to “check the box” if they have a criminal record. The idea behind the movement is that this question adds discrimination to the process up front.

By many accounts, the initiative has been successful, with former president Barack Obama urging Congress to adopt a measure to “ban the box” for federal employment. According to the White House, “When around 70 million Americans – nearly one in three adults – have a criminal record, it is important to remove unnecessary barriers that may prevent these individuals from gaining access to employment, training, education and other basic tools required for success in life.” Since December 2015, the policy has been adopted by more than 150 cities and counties around the US as well as by large corporations such as Walmart, Target, Home Depot and many others.

fair chance employment

In the video below, Joe Deloss of Hot Chicken Takeover discusses fair chance employment and how “the more we refer to our team as an ‘other,’ the less sense of community we have as a team.”

Access Ventures is excited to see traction with “Ban The Box,” but recognize that there are many other “boxes” that create barriers to employment like homelessness, substance abuse, and sexual exploitation. Therefore, we seek to find impact-minded enterprises that go beyond the “ban the box” practice by building a staffing model around workers with significant barriers to employment, no matter the nature.

Recently, two founders from our Impact-Minded Enterprises portfolio, Joe DeLoss of Hot Chicken Takeover and Rachelle Starr of Scarlet’s Bakery, sat down to discuss the complexities of fair chance employment. In the video, they discuss the difference between fair chance and second chance language, how human resources should think about a fair chance employment team, and when a fair chance employment model can lead to exploitation of your team. Watch this short video below to hear them discuss these topics:

If you enjoyed this discussion about entrepreneurs focusing on the right problems then consider learning about a similar discussion about inclusive entrepreneurship and unlocking capital for minority entrepreneurs. You should also consider subscribing to receive updates as we publish more videos discussing similar topics.

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