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Fair-chance hiring allows businesses to grow

Oklahoma City has received national attention recently for its expansion in both population and business. This year our city ranked among the top 25 locations in the nation to start a business. Trends indicate that growth will continue for the foreseeable future. To ensure a reliable workforce pool, several organizations are taking the proactive approach of utilizing fair chance hiring practices to attain skilled and invaluable employees.

Fair chance hiring refers to the practice of hiring qualified job candidates despite low-level, nonviolent, criminal offenses they committed in their past. Countless studies show that doing so is beneficial for communities, businesses and economies.

Locke Supply Co. Director of Talent and Recruitment, Katherine Paciga, said incorporating fair chance hiring practices has helped the company grow as one of the state’s major employers.

“Locke Supply was made in Oklahoma and has been around for decades. We are a great company that offers great benefits and is employee owned. Why not offer the opportunity to join our business to people who want a second chance?” Paciga said.

The company became a fair chance employer after The Education and Employment Ministry (TEEM), reached out to see if Paciga would be interested in interviewing job candidates who had previously been involved in the criminal justice system. The two organizations continue to work together to bring qualified fair chance employees to Locke Supply Co., and the partnership is an example of the kind of effective teamwork that can occur when employers and diversion programs collaborate.

“With our big distribution center and local branches there is a lot of room to grow with us, which means a lot of positions to fill,” Paciga said.

“I do encourage employers to work with diversion programs like TEEM. They’re going to send you good people and provide you with all the information you need to make sure it’s a good fit,” said Charmaigne Logan, who is the Distribution Center Recruiter at Locke Supply. “Our second-chance employees are some of my best employees - they come to work on time, they do what they are supposed to do and they are consistent.”

Locke Supply Co. is one of several employers in central Oklahoma who has been better able to fill open roles by bringing on formerly justice involved individuals. Employers like Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma, EMBARK, Woody Candy Company and others have all reaped the benefits of fair chance hiring.

Paciga notes the company’s decision to implement fair chance hiring practices makes practical business sense but is also in accordance with their core values. “We are a people first company. Second chance job seekers are people that are looking to commit to careers and turn their lives around for the better. Being a part of that change is incredibly rewarding.”

I am proud of the work of Central Oklahoma employers’ commitment to adjusting hiring practices allows our communities to thrive and helps our businesses grow.

This piece was originally published in the Journal Record


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