A broad coalition of business groups is pledging to hire workers with criminal backgrounds in the wake of a new federal law aimed at reducing incarcerations.
The movement is spearheaded by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, who enlisted the support of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation, the National Restaurant Association and the American Staffing Association have signed on as well. Together, the groups represent businesses that employ roughly 60 percent of the American workforce.
"As business people, we have so many opportunities we aren't even aware of to make our country better and help people improve their lives. This is one of them," Koch said in a statement. "I challenge all of us, as business leaders, to take this important next step together."
Koch announced the initiative Sunday at a retreat in California, with a direct appeal to donors to his network of philanthropy and advocacy groups. More than 700 people attended the meeting, representing businesses that employ more than 2 million workers.