JPMorgan Chase is expanding its commitment to giving people with criminal backgrounds a second chance by supporting their reentry into the workforce, community and local economies.
The change is part of a new public policy agenda from the company related to hiring. The company is the state’s largest for-profit employer with a total headcount of 11,000.
The unemployment rate is an estimated 27 percent for roughly five million formerly incarcerated people in the U.S. — more than five times the overall national rate. Delaware has a higher incarceration rate than the U.S, which locks up a larger percentage of its population than most first-world countries.
Research shows that over 600,000 people are released each year from prison in the U.S.
JPMorgan Chase’s new efforts apply lessons learned and best practices as a major employer and from its community investments in cities like Detroit and Chicago.
The company will apply its business resources and expertise — including data, research, talent and philanthropic investments — and collaborate with policy, business and community leaders to address the socioeconomic costs of barriers to employment for people with arrest or conviction histories, a release stated.
The firm will help people with criminal backgrounds build in-demand skills and gain access to employment by:
- Public Policy Agenda: Advancing a public policy agenda through the new JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter that reduces barriers to employment for people with criminal backgrounds;
- Community Investments: Making new community investments to support people with criminal backgrounds in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, New York, Seattle and Wilmington, Delaware that focus on career development, financial health and entrepreneurship, and encourage more companies in growing industries to hire them; and
- Hiring: JPMorgan Chase “banned the box” by proactively removing all questions about criminal backgrounds from job applications and is now enhancing its strategy to attract a broader applicant pool, including people with criminal backgrounds.
“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 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.”
JPMorgan Chase is also pushing for regulatory hiring rules changes. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation limits financial institutions’ ability to hire people with specific types of criminal backgrounds. JPMorgan Chase has supported recent reforms to Federal Deposit Insurance Act Section 19 and recommends making further changes to increase access to employment for affected workers, while maintaining the safety and soundness of the nation’s depository institutions.
JPMorgan Chase also pledged to aid in entrepreneurship by supporting efforts at the state and federal level to expand resources that provide greater economic opportunities and mobility for people with criminal backgrounds and reduce recidivism.
“In Delaware, we know it’s important to offer our neighbors a second chance, to allow Delawareans who have a criminal history to compete for a job and contribute to our success as a state,” said Gov. Governor John Carney. “That’s why we are excited about these initiatives from JPMorgan Chase – a major employer in Delaware. The company is already making important progress on its commitment to hire Delawareans and Americans with criminal backgrounds, which is incredibly important. These additional community investments, and the company’s leadership on second-chance policy initiatives will help build on that progress in our state and across the country.”
Also, the Rodel Foundation of Delaware and the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation to launch best practice toolkits and planning resources that help with the recruitment, hiring and retention of people with criminal backgrounds by major employers.
In 2018, JPMorgan Chase hired approximately 2,100 people in the U.S. with criminal backgrounds — roughly 10 percent of new hires. Many were arrested for or convicted of low-level crimes such as disorderly conduct, personal drug possession and DUI (driving under the influence), and are employed in entry-levels jobs such as transaction processing, and lending and account servicing.
Plans call for expanding opportunities when a criminal background has no bearing on job requirements.
In addition, JPMorgan Chase will work with other employers committed to adopting and promoting second chance hiring policies by sharing best practices and insights.