A Healthcare Employer Guide to Hiring People with Arrest and Conviction Records

by NELP and Safer Foundation

Executive Summary

A Growing Need for Healthcare Workers

As healthcare employers are well aware, growth in healthcare jobs is projected to far exceed other industries over the next decade, with employment in the healthcare and social assistance sector adding 3.8 million jobs to become the largest employment sector in the nation.1 You may have already observed increased demand for healthcare services as a result of changes made by the Affordable Care Act and the demographic shift led by aging baby boomers. To meet this demand, you’ll need to implement appropriate workforce development strategies and invest in qualified workers.

An Undiscovered Pool of Diverse and Valuable Talent

An often overlooked and underutilized pool of talented individuals is eager to become a part of your workforce and help you meet increased demand. Every year, nearly 700,000 people reenter society from incarceration; they are among the estimated 70 million adults in the U.S. who have an arrest and conviction record.2 A disproportionate number of people with records are people of color, who have mostly been charged with non-violent crimes. Employers who have taken part in programs to give these individuals a second chance have praised their enthusiasm, worth ethic, and loyalty.

People with records have limited employment opportunities in the healthcare industry for a myriad of reasons, including employer attitudes and misperceptions; the often overly stringent background checks required for occupational certifications and licenses; lack of guidance in properly hiring people with records; and the underutilization of rehabilitative legal mechanisms that allow hospitals and other healthcare employers to hire people with records.

When given a fair chance to work, people with records make good employees, whose employment helps improve our economic health and public safety.

Given the burgeoning market for healthcare services and the forecasted competition for skilled workers, we encourage you to fully consider qualified people with records when filling healthcare job openings. The singular demand for workers combined with the nation’s recognition of the need for criminal justice reform presents an opportunity for you to invest in previously untapped talent pools, including people with arrest or conviction records.

Let’s Seize the Opportunity

As the healthcare industry continues to grow, employers have an opportunity to launch innovative workforce development strategies to assure a diversified pipeline of qualified healthcare workers.

Businesses of all sizes and types come and go in the communities they serve. However, healthcare organizations help keep many communities afloat and steady, even in hard financial and uncertain times.

Adopting a hiring policy for people with records can help you achieve your business objectives while advancing your mission to serve the public. Consult this toolkit for guidance on implementing a hiring program for people with records.

Several healthcare providers and trainers featured in the toolkit are at the forefront of a movement to invest in workforces in underserved communities. We can all learn from their experiences in developing policies and practices that work.

With the guidance provided in the toolkit, you can be proactive in recruiting people with records from your community. Please share this toolkit with your HR and talent acquisition teams. And good luck as you begin your journey!

(Share this landing page: http://bit.ly/fairhiringinhealthcare)


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