As a nation, we are in desperate need of qualified workers and running out of places to look for them. Yet we also have millions of individuals sitting idle in prisons, 95 percent of whom will eventually be released. Sadly, our justice system has an abysmal record of preparing these individuals for life beyond concrete walls — especially when it comes to helping them enter the job market. In fact, one year after their release, almost 60 percent of all formerly incarcerated individuals are still unemployed.

For the lucky few who do find employment, they are paid an average of 40 percent less than those with no criminal record. These individuals represent a potential pool of untapped resources for employers looking to hire new workers.

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