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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: October 18, 2019 12:12 PM
From: Representative Jordan A. Harris and Rep. Andrew Lewis
To: All House members
Subject: Second Chance Employment Opportunities for Ex-Offenders
Every day, ex-offenders across the U.S. struggle to find jobs due to their criminal record. This is evidenced by the 27% of those formerly incarcerated are unemployed, which is five times greater than the unemployment rate of the U.S. population. In addition, unemployment increases the risk of re-offending and forces ex-offenders into the state welfare system leading to large-scale costs for state government.

To avoid these outcomes and give people a needed jumpstart, I plan to introduce the Pennsylvania Second Chance Jobs Act. The act will create a publicly accessible, online job postings website where employers who are willing to hire ex-offenders can submit job postings. The Department of Labor and Industry has indicated that federal funding will be sufficient to cover the costs of Pennsylvania Second Chance Jobs. Best of all, this website will be free for employers and applicants.

We need to continue to fight against stigmas that treat people with criminal backgrounds as second-class citizens. The best way to do this is by creating more opportunities to help these Pennsylvanians successfully reintegrate into the workforce and become productive members of their communities. Please join me in this effort that aims to do just that.

Introduced as HB2040