JPMorgan Chase expands second chance hiring efforts in Phoenix

Business News | 27 Feb |

JPMorgan Chase announced today it has launched a community-based hiring model in Phoenix to help remove barriers for qualified people with criminal backgrounds to secure employment at JPMorgan Chase.

JPMorgan Chase is one of metro Phoenix’s largest employers and has three campuses in the region plus 137 branches in Maricopa County.

JPMorgan Chase is launching new collaborations with Phoenix-based non-profit organizations to further build an inclusive hiring pipeline for people with criminal backgrounds in the city, whose histories fit within industry regulatory guidelines, and whose criminal backgrounds have no bearing on the job requirements.


READ ALSO: 20 Phoenix nonprofits and how you can help


The firm is collaborating with St. Joseph the WorkerArouet FoundationFriendly HouseMaricopa County Smart Justice ProgramFresh Start Women’s Foundation,  Hope Lives and Community Legal Services to provide these job seekers with key resources, such as legal services, job search support and mentorship.

Since its launch, this firm’s Second Chance recruitment model has helped more people with criminal backgrounds get hired into the firm’s Chicago and Columbus workforce.

In April, the firm joined a group of major employers and national organizations to launch the Second Chance Business Coalition (SCBC) as part of its commitment to give people with criminal backgrounds a second chance by supporting their reentry into the workforce, community and local economies. The SCBC has grown to include about 40 companies from across industries that are dedicated to second chance hiring and career advancement.

In Phoenix, JPMorgan Chase will provide local partnering nonprofits with technical support to equip them with approaches to supporting jobseekers facing barriers to jobs because of their arrest or conviction histories. The organizations will collaborate with JPMorgan Chase recruiters to provide career coaching, mock interviews, resume building, skills assessment and wraparound services to help successfully recruit, hire, and retain people through this effort.

“By breaking down barriers to jobs for people with past convictions and connecting them to viable employment, we’re boosting our local economy and creating an environment that gives people a second chance at finding productive work to help turn their lives around ,” said Mike Cunningham, Managing Director and an Operations Executive for JPMorgan Chase in Phoenix.

“Through their Second Chance initiative, JPMorgan Chase is committed to giving people with criminal backgrounds a second chance and that fits squarely within our mission,” said Dean Scheinert, COO at St. Joseph the Worker. “St. Joseph the Worker’s goal is to empower job-seeking clients to connect with employment and create opportunities to find success. Together we are continuing to create innovative solutions to remove all the barriers in their way. We are honored to collaborate with JPMorgan Chase on their Second Chance Initiative and hope more employers join the cause. “In addition, through the Second Chance Business Coalition, JPMorgan Chase engages with employers committed to adopting and promoting Second Chance hiring policies by sharing best practices, insights and learnings.

JPMorgan Chase’s hiring efforts in Phoenix build on a range of actions the firm has taken to expand opportunities for individuals with criminal backgrounds to pursue careers within the firm, such as proactively “banning the box” on job applications and removing all questions about criminal backgrounds from job applications. Second Chance hires represent approximately 10 percent of the firm’s new hires in the U.S. over the last three years. Many were involved in low-level crimes such as disorderly conduct, personal drug possession and DUI (driving under the influence), and are employed in jobs such as transaction processing, and lending and account servicing.

Approximately 70 million Americans have a criminal record. Local AZ Stat Research shows that individuals with a conviction history often experience significant collateral consequences as a result, including barriers to employment and a lack of opportunities to advance professionally. For example, a criminal record alone can reduce the chances of a second interview by 50 percent. A Society for Human Resource Management study found that 82 percent of managers feel that the “quality of hire” for workers with criminal records is as high as or higher than that for workers without records. Policymakers and businesses increasingly recognize that providing education, skills training and employment opportunities to people with arrest or conviction histories helps reduce recidivism, increase public safety, build stronger communities and strengthen the economy.

In addition to the firm’s hiring efforts in Phoenix, the firm is taking several other actions to remove barriers to employment for people with criminal backgrounds:

a. Public Policy Agenda: Through the JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter, the firm has been developing and advancing sustainable, evidence-based policy solutions to help remove barriers to employment for people with criminal backgrounds. People with criminal records face economic barriers including hiring discrimination and lost job opportunities, as well as access to higher education or capital to start a business. The drag on the earning potential of tens of millions of Americans are costs not only borne by individuals, their families, and their communities, but also have large economic consequences that contribute to inequality. This disproportionately affects people of color, with Black adults being over five times more likely to be incarcerated than white adults.

Examples of the firm’s work to create greater opportunity for people with records include:

• Supporting the reform of industry hiring rules by working with the FDIC to modify Sec. 19 rules for people with convictions for certain low-risk crimes to qualify for jobs in the banking industry without increasing risk to safety and soundness.

• Endorsing the Fair Chance Act, which was signed into federal law in December 2019 and helps qualified workers with arrest or conviction records compete for employment in federal agencies and with federal contractors.

• Supporting the restoration of access to Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals. Signed into federal law in 2020, this allows incarcerated individuals to pursue post-secondary education in prison, increasing employment opportunities after their release.  Encouraging bipartisan Clean Slate Automatic Record Clearing legislation, including support for federal House and Senate measures, as well as state legislation to streamline the record clearing process for eligible offenses and help individuals move on from their records. In Michigan, for example, JPMorgan Chase supported a landmark bipartisan Clean Slate measure in 2020 that will automatically clear eligible records for roughly one million people across the state.  Supporting the federal Driving for Opportunity Act and state measures which seek to limit driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fines and fees unrelated to driving infractions.

b. Philanthropic Commitments:  In Arizona, the firm’s philanthropic commitments also include collaborations with organizations like the Arouet Foundation and Corporation for Supportive Housing to help provide people with arrest or conviction records with access to resources that they need to advance their financial health and find affordable housing with wrap-around services to help stop the cycle of recidivism. In addition, JPMorgan Chase has committed $12.5 million to help community organizations in cities like Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Nashville and Wilmington connect people with criminal backgrounds with in-demand, well-paying jobs, the tools and resources they need to achieve their financial goals, and entrepreneurship training. The firm’s philanthropic commitments also include collaborations with organizations like the Financial Health Network, Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Safer Foundation, and the Center for Employment Opportunity to help provide people with arrest or conviction records with access to the resources that they need to advance their financial health, access legal advice and build in-demand skills for stable career pathways.

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