In my first year on the job as Vice President of Operations at U.S. Rubber, I’ve seen many former felons brought on through our second-chance hiring program blossom. One found new success after an internal reorganization gave him more responsibility — now he’s aiming for the CEO’s job. I’ve watched another flourish in his first job ever and exceed everyone’s expectations, including his own. A third is rising to the trust we’ve placed in him by doing whatever it takes to meet his production goals every day.
These employees and others — formerly incarcerated people make up about 50 percent of our workforce — helped us grow our sustainable fitness flooring and acoustical underlayment business more than 100 percent during the first two years of the pandemic. Based on what we’ve learned through our Bounce Back! program for second-chance hires, I’m convinced other companies could achieve similar results.
What it takes is hiring the right second-chance employees and helping them thrive, and that requires resourcefulness, getting the right human resources to help, and building strong relationships with institutional partners.