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. This grant program will provide qualified businesses with 100 or less employees a grant so long as they train and hire eligible returning citizens in a new occupation. Qualified businesses will need to hire returning citizens for a minimum of 20 hours of work a week and pay the Illinois minimum wage. Qualified employees must be Illinois residents that have been incarcerated within the last five years.
This initiative is included in the SBAC's Small Business Package, which is currently circulating amongst members of the Illinois General Assembly.