For Employers

For Employers

Beacon of Hope is led by its Business Alliance, employers committed to advance the cause of and realize the benefits from Fair Chance Hiring. Our goal is to empower employers with the knowledge, tools, and network to build best-in-class Fair Chance Hiring programs that maximize success of both individuals and organizations.

No matter where you are on your journey with Fair Chance Hiring – whether you are exploring what it takes to start a program, improving an existing program, or seeking to be a community leader – Beacon of Hope can help.

We provide three types of services to Business Alliance organizations:

Hiring Partnership:
Access job-ready candidates who match to your role criteria and are supported by Cincinnati Works, Center for Employment Opportunities, or Life Learning Center.

Knowledge Sharing:
Advance your Fair Chance Hiring program through consultations with experts, access to events, and learning from other Business Alliance peers.

Promote and celebrate your organization’s commitment to strengthening the Greater Cincinnati community.

Contact us
to learn more about how to join the Business Alliance and take advantage of these services.

When engaging with employers on Fair Chance Hiring, we focus on our Six Success Factors:


Six Success Factors

Build top-to-bottom buy-in

Support from the CEO and other top leadership is critical, but Fair Chance initiatives can also fall apart if organizations don’t have meaningful support all the way down to supervisors and front-line workers. Without collective buy-in, the experience will be poor for all involved and the initiative will collapse.

Review HR policies and practices with Fair Chance lens

Considerations cover the entire employee life cycle. Begin with current hiring practices and understanding which aspects of an application and/or background checks are truly show-stoppers (like any felony convictions, which ones, how long ago, how many times, etc) and whether you will give individuals a chance to explain the situation. Once hired, there are many other considerations. For example, individuals may be required to meet with parole officers during work hours, and how should you handle that time off to be equitable?

Find a social service partner (don’t go it alone)

It’s tough to know what to expect jumping into this for the first time, and we recommend finding a partner that can give you straight talk about both opportunities and risks and work through the complexities outlined in #2. We can help give you direction, contact us to learn more.

Provide or source wraparound supports

People with criminal records or periods of incarceration may have needs that are different from your current workforce. These can range from the tactical (ex: meeting with a parole officer) to the emotional (ex: dealing with past trauma) to the practical (ex: managing basic finances or garnished wages). There are resources at Cincinnati Works and in the community to help you support these employees achieve long-term success, building appreciation and company loyalty. Contact us to learn more.

Respect and maintain individual confidentiality

No one likes to walk around with a scarlet letter. Some individuals may be trying to leave their past behind and already encounter enough stigma outside of work. They don’t need more of it in the workplace. Outside of the hiring process, let their story be theirs to share on their terms.

Start small, learn, and adjust

There is a spectrum of approaches on this, it isn’t binary. We recommend easing into Fair Chance Hiring with a small pilot and growing from there. Know that there will be people who won’t work out and that there will be frustrations along the way. Stay committed to learning and implementing changes. Contact us to connect you with other similar employers to learn from their experience.



Employer FAQ

What are the benefits of Fair Chance Hiring?

Greater pool of candidates for open positions, loyal employees who are grateful for the opportunity, brand enhancement as a good corporate citizen, and many others.

How can I be sure the people I hire won’t cause trouble?

You can’t. But there are no guarantees with anyone you hire, even for those without a criminal record. We advise employers to evaluate any candidate on their merits and potential and to allow candidates with a criminal record the opportunity to tell their story.

What offenses should I exclude from my hiring process?

As a general practice, you should only exclude convictions (note: different from “charges”) that are relevant to the role (for example: theft for a bank teller position). Additionally, you should consider how long it has been since the last conviction and the interim story.

Are there financial incentives for Fair Chance Hiring?

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a Federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain demographics who face significant barriers to employment. Many formerly incarcerated people fall into that protected class, and tax credits can be up to $9,600 per employee.

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