Reduce Recidivism and Grow the Workforce
As a premier advocacy organization, the SBAC maintains a continuous focus on problems, red flags, and concerns that arise in all corners of the public arena. Often, the issues we keen in on are causing a negative cultural, social, or economic impact. One issue that has impacted those three aspects of our society and that the SBAC has had increasingly more interest in is second chance hiring and getting returning citizens back into the workforce.
Earlier this year, the SBAC hosted Author and Chief Economist with Fifth Third Bank - Jeff Korzenik - to discuss 2nd chance hiring and the game changer it could be. Jeff perfectly articulates the positive impact - socially, culturally, and economically - second chance hiring could have in this SBAC virtual webinar which can be viewed below.
This issue is something the SBAC believes can be addressed with the recent influx of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
We are advocating for ARPA funds to be utilized to facilitate the training and hiring of returning citizens. Of the remaining ARPA funds received by the State of Illinois, $50,000,000 shall be allocated as grants to businesses for the purposes of getting returning citizen back into the workforce. Eligible businesses will receive grants in the amount of $5,000 to retrain and hire qualified returning citizens to be eligible for the Returning Citizen grant. Eligible businesses must employ less than 50 employees and pay the qualifying returning citizen(s) at least IL minimum wage for a minimum of 30 hours per week, for at least 1 year. A qualifying returning citizen must be an Illinois resident and have been incarcerated within five years of the date the grant is awarded. The program will be administered by the DCEO on a first come first served basis. Small businesses will not be limited to one grant. The program will sunset in 2025.
This initiative is included in the SBAC's Small Business Package, which is currently circulating amongst members of the Illinois General Assembly.