Having a record for a criminal conviction can significantly harm employment opportunities. Those who are released from jail or prison often find great difficulty in finding a solid job that provides a decent paycheck to earn a living. In many case, it can take years for formerly incarcerated persons to find work that offers financial stability. According to a survey by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, 76 percent of respondents (those formerly incarcerated) reported finding work as very difficult or nearly impossible.
Fortunately, the restaurant industry has stood out as a source of hope for those with criminal records looking for employment. The restaurant business is currently the “top employer of former inmates in the United States,” says cofounder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United Saru Jayaraman in an article for Fast Company. As mentioned in another article by Tasting Table, workforce development-driven restaurants from New York to San Francisco have been offering jobs to formerly incarcerated individuals. Still, quality is at the forefront of these operations, and they provide the training and skills needed to help launch people out of unemployment. Furthermore, the skills learned put in place a chance for employees to be promoted or continue moving forward into career positions elsewhere.
When considering the stigma that often follows those with a criminal record, chances like these are extremely valuable. With more restaurants and other organizations implementing like changes to their hiring policies, more people are given a second-chance at a better life. The end result is a stable and dignified work environment, and a growing number of life-changing opportunities for financial stability.