JPMorgan Chase has announced the launch of a new public policy agenda and investments totaling more than $7 million to address obstacles to employment for people with criminal backgrounds.
To that end, the Chase PolicyCenter will collaborate with policy, business, and community leaders to address the socioeconomic costs of barriers to employment for people with arrest or conviction histories; support organizations working to provide career development, financial coaching, and entrepreneurship assistance to individuals with criminal backgrounds; and encourage companies in growing industries to hire individuals who have been incarcerated. As part of the effort, the bank will remove questions about criminal justice system involvement from its job applications.
Partners in the effort include the North Lawndale Employment Network (Chicago), Heartland Alliance's Rapid Employment and Development Initiative (Chicago), the Safer Foundation (Chicago), Dave's Killer Bread Foundation (Milwaukie, Oregon), the National Employment Law Project (New York City), Refoundry (New York City), Project Return (Nashville), Prosperity Agenda (Seattle), the Center for Law and Social Policy (Washington D.C.), and the Rodel Foundation of Delaware (Wilmington). And with the goal of helping formerly incarcerated individuals build credit, the bank also awarded grants to Credit Builders Alliance (Washington D.C.), the Financial Clinic (New York City), and the Detroit Employment Solutions Corp.
"Business has a responsibility to partner with policy, business, and community leaders to create an economy that works for more people. When someone cannot get their foot in the door to compete for a job, it is bad for business and bad for communities that need access to economic opportunity," said JPMorgan Chase chair and CEO Jamie Dimon. "Giving more people a second chance allows businesses to step-up and do their part to reduce recidivism, hire talented workers, and strengthen the economy."