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Businesses Praise Proposed Rule on Federal Hiring, Call on President to Issue Executive Order for Federal Contractors

For Immediate Release: 
April 29, 2016
Contact Info
Bob Keener
ASBC
617-610-6766

WASHINGTON, DC (April 29, 2016)—Today, business leaders applauded President Obama’s announcement of a proposed federal regulation eliminating hiring barriers for federal employment and called on him to continue the progress towards fair chance hiring practices by signing an executive order extending these changes to federal contractors.

“Cascade Engineering believes in eliminating barriers to employment and this includes people who may have a prior criminal record,” said Mark Miller, CEO of Cascade Engineering in Grand Rapids, MI. “Our experience has shown that candidates with a criminal background when provided an opportunity for employment along with clear expectations and the appropriate training can thrive and frequently exceed our expectations. With a supportive culture many of these individuals have had successful careers at Cascade Engineering while regaining their self-esteem and value to society.”

“We are thrilled that the Obama Administration understands the importance of inclusive hiring and are proud to be a founding partner in the Fair Chance Business Pledge. As an organization that has been dedicated to hiring individuals facing economic and social barriers to employment with no questions asked for over 30 years, Greyston has the experience and knowledge that will enable other businesses to adopt Open Hiring. Increasing the opportunity landscape for the formerly incarcerated will benefit the individual and society as a whole.” said Mike Brady, CEO and President of Greyston.

Commenting on the proposed hiring regulations, Richard Eidlin, Vice President of Policy and Campaigns for the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), said “Business thrives the more we treat people fairly. In the short-term we benefit from a positive culture that encourages the best from our employees. In the long-run we build a workforce that contributes the best that it can – and a customer base with more buying power. A job is the single most important factor in reducing poverty in the United States, and yet too often, a job remains out of reach for many who have served time in prison.”  

The proposed rule will require the federal government remove any questions from job applications pertaining to an applicant’s criminal background for most positions, also called “Ban the Box.” The name refers to the checkbox on a job application that says, “Do you have a criminal history?” Ban the Box calls for a prohibition of this question from initial job applications so that employers consider a candidate’s qualifications first, and only consider a criminal record later in the process. While many barriers to employment exist, former incarceration remains the most onerous. Approximately 600,000 individuals are released from jail each year.

Member companies of ASBC attended a March 2016 ceremony at the White House to sign the Fair Chance Business Pledge. The pledge calls for businesses to improve their communities by eliminating hiring barriers for those with a criminal record. The ASBC members attending were Busboys and Poets, and Greyston Bakery. Seventeen other companies attended, including Facebook, Google, Starbucks, Unilever and Xerox.

ASBC urges the President to also take executive action extending Ban the Box to federal contractors, as urged by a number of organizations and Congressional leaders. ASBC also endorses legislation proposed by Senator Cory Booker of NJ, Bill S.2021, the Fair Chance Act, which would prohibit Federal agencies and Federal contractors from requesting that an applicant for employment disclose criminal history information before the applicant has received a conditional offer.

The American Sustainable Business Council www.asbcouncil.org advocates for policy change and informs business owners and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. Through its national member network it represents more than 200,000 business owners, executives and investors.