As the unemployment rate in the US remains at historic lows, formerly incarcerated people are still struggling to find a job. Enter the largest bank in the country, which has recently announced plans to widen the access to economic opportunity for those with former convictions.
After hiring 2,100 employees with some sort of a criminal background last year, JP Morgan has now set forth an expansion of its efforts to help get these socially marginalized people back on their feet.
The bank has now “banned the box” that asks prospective employees to disclose prior convictions. That had posed the risk of unfair discrimination against those with a criminal background. Because of such steps in job application forms, the unemployment rate is much higher for Americans with records than for those without. In fact, the unemployment rate among formerly incarcerated people stands at 27%, compared to the 3.5% nationwide jobless rate.
As part of its efforts to lower that rate, JP Morgan said it plans to spend $7 million to support programs in cities, including Chicago, Detroit, and Nashville, that work with people with criminal backgrounds to develop career skills.