The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, in partnership with Bexar County’s Department of Economic and Community Development and Office of Criminal Justice Policy, Planning & Programs, will join four Texas manufacturers to establish a “second chance” hiring pilot program aimed at increasing opportunities in the industry for workers with criminal records.

“This program is a pioneering step toward creating a stronger workforce and doing the right thing for the people of San Antonio and the surrounding area,” said MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “Second chance hiring gives businesses access to a talent pool in an often-overlooked population, and it gives more Americans a chance to pursue high-paying, rewarding careers. Forma Automotive, Vutex, Toyoda Gosei and Toyotetsu Texas will certainly be impressed by the caliber of employees they welcome into their ranks as part of this partnership. With manufacturers confronting the skills gap and needing to fill millions of positions by the end of the decade, this program is exactly the sort of initiative our industry and communities across the country need to take. The MI is proud to partner with companies to improve second chance hiring strategies, thanks to a grant from the Charles Koch Institute, and we look forward to expanding our work across the country.”

One in four Americans currently possess a criminal record. Without second chance opportunities, many in this sizable talent pool are excluded from the workforce, needlessly leaving them on the sidelines as employers search for candidates who can fill the skills gap. The pilot will begin with information sessions for the second chance population that will be led by the manufacturers and supported by Workforce Solutions Alamo. The individuals who choose to apply and then are hired by the companies will start with a week-long orientation that will give them an intro into manufacturing and provide them with the community support to ensure their ability to be successful in their new roles.

Bexar County partners bring experience supporting second chance individuals with various services, including through the county’s Reentry Council chaired by Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert, who also hosts an annual second chance hiring fair.

“Toyotetsu Texas initially began working with the justice-involved population in 2018, and we are excited to be able to support other manufacturers in our community as they embark on this journey,” said Toyotetsu Assistant Vice President of Administration Leslie Cantu. “I am confident the other industry partners involved in our second chance hiring program will see positive results, just as we have for the past four years. I encourage other companies that are experiencing hiring challenges to consider this recruitment strategy to support their business needs. I think they will find this strategy is a ‘win-win’ for all involved, and it makes good business sense to tap into this talent pool.”

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