Businesses Support Smart Hiring for Spokane
To Members of City Council and Mayor Condon,

As Spokane-area business leaders and employers, we urge you to adopt a Smart Hiring (also known as Ban the Box) ordinance for all private employers in Spokane. Smart Hiring policies reduce barriers to employment for people with conviction records, and we know our community works best when everyone in our community can work!

Our goal is that all public and private employers (with exceptions including positions working with vulnerable populations or law enforcement) consider applicants first based on their qualifications, then on their conviction history, and give applicants the opportunity to explain their past, what they've learned from it and how they have recovered before making a hiring decision.

Smart Hiring policies entail the removal of the checkbox from employment applications asking if an individual has a criminal conviction. The policy does not remove background checks from the hiring process, but allows for individuals to have a fair chance at being considered for employment based on their qualifications and experience.

Nearly one in three Americans has a conviction record, and we cannot afford to exclude them from our economy. When we do, businesses miss out on qualified employees, and we prevent people who have moved past their mistakes from working hard to support their families.

We applaud the City of Spokane for implementing Smart Hiring for the majority of city positions. Across the country, 19 states and over 100 counties and cities have adopted Smart Hiring policies. States with differing political climates have determined that Smart Hiring is the best decision for their states -- from California to Georgia.

Business support comes from large and small businesses across the country as well. Walmart removed the criminal history box from its application in 2010. Spokeswoman Dianna Gee said, “The removal does not eliminate the background check or drug test, but it offers those who’ve been previously incarcerated a chance to get their foot in the door.” Target also practices Smart Hiring, stating that this policy aligns with their commitment to keep the workplace and shopping environment safe.

Since 34% of unemployed males between the ages of 25-35 have a conviction record, and research shows that acquiring a job lowers the likelihood that someone will commit another crime, Smart Hiring will help keep our communities safer, promote prosocial opportunities for the formerly incarcerated, increase the tax base and decrease dependence on government assistance.

Smart Hiring is smart for Spokane. My business supports adopting Smart Hiring for all private employers in the City of Spokane. Let us join the nation in helping our communities work and remain safe for everyone.
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