Change needed in venture capital hiring practices
Companies need to do a better job of offering jobs to about 650,000 people freed from America’s jails and prisons each year, Blavity News says.
Twenty-seven percent of those released are left to survive without employment. This lack of jobs creates voids in housing, healthcare and eliminates the possibility of obtaining custody of their children, authors Marcus Glover and Michael Franti report.
“And without these things, staying out of prison is a battle many will lose,” the June 3 article said.
Glover and Franti are leaders of the national venture capital firm known as Lockstep.
The firm insists the incarcerated work pool must become recognized and more visible and viable in America.
The op-ed defined “post-conviction poverty,” as the “socio-economic fallout of exclusionary hiring practices.” Lockstep and its leaders call the hiring practices, “real and damaging.”
Glover and Franti cited communities like the Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco, which they say have become impoverished due to the war on drugs and mass incarceration. The partners argue that these are failed policies that have stripped communities of color from gaining meaningful employment.
Glover and Franti point to Terrance Stewart’s take on why finding employment for formerly incarcerated populations is difficult.
Stewart, previously incarcerated, works for an employment advocacy agency called Time Done. He believes that identifying a job applicant’s conviction automatically denies candidates any chance of being hired in today’s world.
Time Done explores employment hurdles faced by the previously convicted. The employment advocacy group estimates that nearly 70 million Americans have a criminal record, with 8 million in California alone.
Assuming that discriminatory hiring bans remain in place for the remaining life of returning citizens, Time Done estimates that people not hired due to criminal records cost the state of California over $20 billion in lost Gross Domestic Product.
Glover and Franti believe the national economy can no longer overlook any qualified candidate, even the predominately Black and Brown formerly incarcerated, for any reason. “We stand at a moment of unprecedented labor shortages, and the private sector no longer has the luxury of blindly discarding qualified candidates,” they wrote.
To change discriminatory hiring practices, Lockstep calls on all venture capital companies to mandate a fair-chance view of hiring. Glover and Franti’s company is now referring to the hiring of formerly incarcerated people as a moral and corporate responsibility