Minnesota Employer’s Fair Chance Hiring Guide

In partnership with Root + Rebound, a reentry organization in California, Twin Cities R!SE has created an important resource to support inclusive hiring within the State of Minnesota.  

"Minnesota is facing a historic labor shortage. Yet, many Minnesota residents and potential workers remain unemployed or under-employed due to a past criminal conviction, despite having served their time and wanting to be a productive, contributing member of our community. The Minnesota Employers’ Fair Chance’ Guide provides a clear path for Minnesota corporations and businesses to hire those with criminal convictions in their past. It is a practical ‘how-to’ guide that dispels the many myths surrounding hiring those with criminal history in their backgrounds," states Tom Streitz, President and CEO of Twin Cities R!SE. 

Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner, Kevin Lindsey, hosted a panel discussion at the launch event for the Guide in April. This event presented the Fair Chance Hiring Guide to 200 employers, HR professionals, and community workforce organizations. Minnesota is the third state in the country to have this wonderful resource available, and it has become the much needed second step to the Ban the Box legislation.

By learning how to fairly evaluate applicants, employers can increase their supply of talented employees, meet their legal obligations, and improve their communities. The time is now, for both moral and economic reasons, for Minnesota employers to engage in an intentional and proactive strategy to move marginalized workers into the mainstream of their hiring practices. Our hope is that this ‘how-to’ guide will become an active road map for employers to start hiring talented individuals into their workforce.

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Employers now have ideas to do their work differently, yet fairly, to create a win amidst high-demand staffing needs. At the kickoff event, we had employer panelists from companies such as Ajax Metal, McGough Industries, and UPS, who have already pioneered innovative hiring practices.

By showcasing their methods to be fair and inclusive, their positive outcomes were highlighted, and they provided ideas that every employer can consider to change the hiring dynamics for their organization.    

Talented pools of people are seeking a better future, but continue to be held back based on past mistakes. With this hiring guide, we are now able to help employers change their perception, their process, and their hiring results.

Twin Cities R!SE sees this as a catalyst initiative to create change for those we serve, for the employers with whom we partner, and for the communities in which we live and work.  

Visit www.twincitiesrise.org for more information or to download a free copy of the Minnesota Employers’ Fair Chance Hiring Guide.  

Employer Spotlight

Quality Ingredients Corporation (QIC) is a contract manufacturing company that began over 30 years ago in Minnesota. Everything that they produce is a powder, from dietary supplements, medical foods, and powder that goes into packaged foods in grocery stores and restaurants. They sell to everyone, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

Isabelle Day, President and CEO of QIC, found out about TCR through an article in the Star Tribune last Fall featuring a gentleman at TCR who had found employment at a tire company not far from QIC. “I read the article, and I thought to myself, I want him to work here. Why is he not working here?

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“We were struggling hiring people, and keeping the people we were hiring. I gave my staff until October 1st to fill the openings, and if the jobs are not filled, we are going to call TCR. “

The HR staff at QIC had tried conventional hiring methods such as Indeed and temp agencies, but they were not having much luck finding the right employees.

Today, 10 percent of QIC’s employees are former TCR participants.

“I would like every opening within this company to be filled by TCR participants. There is just a better match between what TCR teaches employees in their Empowerment program and how we bring them in than what we find in the average person off of the street,” says Isabelle.

Isabelle, a long-time believer in fair chance hiring, says that the difference in someone coming off of the street with a criminal background, and someone coming from TCR with background issues, is that they are ready for employment.

“The difference between a person off of the street with a background and the person from TCR with a background is night and day. The person off of the street is not ready. They are not ready for full-time employment and they haven’t turned their life around. I have to turn them down. The difference is people that come from TCR are READY!”

“The difference is your Personal Empowerment program. I think everyone should go through Personal Empowerment.”

A great place for a new beginning

QIC starts their employees off with a livable wage of $15 per hour, plus benefits, including a pension plan. It’s possible to earn over $40,000 annually at QIC without a college degree. It’s hard work, but it’s a pretty neat place. You can look at the end of the day and see the work you have done, the tangible products you have made.

“We want our employees to have a good life. To build savings, get a car, and save for a down payment on a house. “

“I feel like companies and society have been so hard on the people that have been through what these people have been through. It’s so hard to find a job when you have a record, but I think it’s a crying shame. These returning citizens are capable of so much more than a minimum wage job.”

If you are interested in connecting with Twin Cities R!SE for customized solutions for your hiring needs, contact Jacquelyn Carpenter, Business Development Director, at 612-666-8026 or jcarpenter@twincitiesrise.org.