Fair Chance Hiring Strategies: One Way to Address Workforce Availability Shortages

Feb 17, 2020


Workforce shortages are a top concern for area employers. Fair chance hiring is one way to innovatively address issues with workforce availability.

Fair chance hiring policies ensure a prospective candidate with a record (like arrest, probation, or incarceration) is not automatically disqualified from consideration for hiring. These policies consider a candidate’s qualifications first, without the stigma of an arrest or conviction record. The hiring and decision-making remain solely with the employer.

Local Business Utilizes Fair Chance Hiring Strategies

Natural and organic products manufacturer Frontier Co-op is one business in the region that has utilized fair chance policies for the last several years. In 2018, Frontier Co-op earned an Iowa Job Honors Award for their efforts in fair chance hiring. Iowa Job Honors Awards are presented to organizations that demonstrate a commitment to hiring candidates with barriers to employment.

Based in Norway, Iowa, Frontier Co-op partners with nonprofit organizations to bring in fair chance candidates for apprenticeships and temporary positions. They also work with the State of Iowa Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and attended the Center’s Second Chance Job Fair last spring.

With Frontier Co-op’s rural location, and given that fair chance candidates may not have a driver’s license, transportation to and from the plant location can be an obstacle. To alleviate this obstacle, Frontier Co-op subsidizes a bus to help transport fair chance hires between the main plant to the Sixth Judicial Center for a nominal fee. The bus fee is payroll deducted, so employees do not need to provide money up front to use the service.

Jodi Wacha, a human resources professional at Frontier Co-op stresses that employers utilize local and state resources to maneuver fair chance hiring regulations and guidelines, as they can sometimes be complicated; “We are proud to share our knowledge of fair chance hiring, as we have learned a lot along the way.”

For more resources on fair chance hiring, visit www.cedarrapids.org/our-region/workforce or reach out to Regional Programs Strategist, Jamie Toledo at jtoledo@cedarrapids.org or 319-730-1422.

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