As the economy improves, businesses struggle to find qualified workers who have the hard and soft skills to get the job done. The non-violent ex-offender population is in the upwards of tens of thousands of willing workers. According to the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), PA has roughly 281,400 people who are either on Probation or Parole. The Obama administration has created a plan to help people who have been incarcerated, with an ever-growing number of employers pledging to hire applicants who have criminal backgrounds. This will help reduce some of the many barriers, such as finding housing and employment, returning citizens face when they are released back into society.
An increasing number of employers are performing background checks on potential candidates. Now, criminal records and background checks are not only readily accessible but also inexpensively obtained. Various federal and state laws even prohibit employers from hiring candidates with criminal records in certain industries. With these regulations in place, it may seem nearly impossible for individuals with criminal histories to find meaningful and steady employment. Despite this, it is imperative to be open and honest with potential employers when discussing criminal history.