April 2021

How JPMorgan Chase hopes to expand ‘second-chance’ hiring efforts in Columbus

Courtesy of Columbus Business First
By Hayleigh Columbo
April 26, 2021

JPMorgan Chase is launching a “community-based hiring model” in Columbus to find a more diverse set of qualified workers, giving people with criminal backgrounds a second chance by supporting their re-entry into the workforce.

“Now more than ever, Central Ohio needs an economy that works for more people,” Corrine Burger, chief control officer and Columbus location leader for JPMorgan Chase, said in a release.

“Breaking down barriers to employment not only helps connect businesses with qualified workers, but also unlocks opportunity across the community and strengthens our region. When we create hiring practices and policies that give people a second chance at stable employment, we all win.”

The work in Columbus will involve JPMorgan Chase partnering with Goodwill Columbus, the Columbus Urban League, The Legal Aid Society of Columbus and the Center for Employment Opportunities to identify such job seekers as well as support them through mentorship, legal services and more.

Monique Baptiste, vice president of workforce strategy and corporate responsibility at JPMorgan Chase, told Columbus Business First that while, “We have hired individuals with criminal backgrounds in Columbus before, we have not set up this type of intentional community-based partnership” until now.

The goal of the partnerships is to “ensure that there are grounded relationships and grounded supports in a city we care deeply about” to build a sustainable hiring pipeline, Baptiste said.

The work in Columbus is an expansion of what JPMorgan Chase is doing in all of its markets. In 2020, more than 2,100 people with criminal backgrounds were hired across the organization – about 10% of JPMorgan’s total new hires in the U.S. that year. The financial services firm also is investing $12.5 million across the United States to support that pipeline of workers.

Courtney Falato, vice president and program officer for global philanthropy at Chase, said that this work is “part of a more holistic strategic to seek out opportunities to find high-quality talent from places that the system has not traditionally allowed for.”

The company believes that second-chance hiring is a fruitful, untapped workforce, Baptiste said. JPMorgan Chase started “banning the box” and not asking people about criminal backgrounds on job applications in 2019. In addition, the company supports reforming FDIC rules to increase opportunities in the banking industry for those convicted of lesser crimes.

More than 70 million Americans have a criminal record, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, which often creates employment barriers.

Baptiste said that many people “automatically rule themselves out of our talent pipeline,” assuming they can’t work in financial services because of criminal backgrounds. But that’s not always the case, she said.

JPMorgan Chase said its pipeline of second-chance workers includes people who were involved in crimes, “such as disorderly conduct, personal drug possession and DUI (driving under the influence).”

Now, they are employed in jobs such as transaction processing, lending and account servicing, according to the company.

Baptiste said there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to who can work in the financial industry. It’s a matter of reviewing people’s individual circumstances, she said.

Chase hopes that its experience can serve as a model for other employers, Falato said. The company will engage with other companies committed to learning best practices by sharing their insights.

“That’s the hope,” Falato said. “One of the really exciting parts of this work is we are quite transparent in our findings. There is no fault here, just learning.”


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