Employment

The A/TCRRT explores new ways to link offenders to sustainable employment through effective training, education, and employer development thereby meeting offender, community, and employer needs. To get involved contact employment goal leader, Sandra Eames.

Activities

Promoting Opportunities for Work

The A/TCRRT supported an economic development agreement between US Farathane and the City of Austin. In the interest of advancing employers’ desire to hire the best person for each job, the A/TCRRT advocates for policies that do not screen out individuals prematurely because of a criminal background. In addition, the A/TCRRT seeks to link reentry stakeholders with employers receptive to hiring people with criminal backgrounds. By opening a door of opportunity, former offenders and their families are able to obtain and maintain income stability and remove a barrier to successful reentry. This not only provides people a “second chance” but also a “fresh start.”

In the fall of 2011, the A/TCRRT partnered with the University of Texas School of Social Work on two projects designed to help people with a criminal history obtain the opportunity to work.  One project focused on resources for people with criminal histories who want to start their own businesses. The other project looked at provisional licensure, a procedure created through legislation adopted in 2009, which allows people with criminal records to obtain occupational licenses.

Ban the Box

The A/TCRRT led a local effort asking employers to consider removing the question about criminal history off the initial employment application. This question often leads people with a criminal history to be screened out of the application process. By delaying questions about criminal history until later in the process, people with a criminal history are given the chance to make a personal impression on the potential employer.

  • In 2007,the A/TCRRT reviewed Travis County’s hiring practices for person’s with criminal backgrounds and made recommendations for enhancing the county’s human resources policies. Read the full report.
  • In April, 2008, Travis County changed its employment application so that job applicants no longer have to disclose their criminal history during the initial phase of the employment application process.
  • In October, 2008, the City of Austin followed suit with a resolution committing the city to increase job opportunities for people with previous criminal convictions. The city also amended its employment application process.

Hiring Ex-Offenders