Kenney Calls on Businesses to Give Ex-Cons a Second Chance

The mayor urged Philly companies to sign a White House pledge to abstain from hiring practices that turn away people with criminal records.

Jim Kenney | Photo by Jeff Fusco

Jim Kenney | Photo by Jeff Fusco

Today, Mayor Jim Kenney issued a call to Philadelphia-based businesses to take the “Fair Chance Business Pledge,” a White House initiative to “eliminate unnecessary hiring barriers for individuals with criminal records.”

The White House launched the pledge earlier this month as a means of creating job opportunities for ex-convicts. Companies that sign the pledge commit to abstain from hiring practices that purposely steer away those with criminal records. According to the statement, 30,000 people are released from prison in Philadelphia every year, and 1 in 3 Americans have some kind of criminal record, so this is an issue affecting large number of people.

Kenney made the announcement to coincide with National Reentry Week, which the Justice Department designated as April 24th to April 30th. In the call, he also announced that some Philly-based businesses have already taken the pledge.

“Today I’m proud to know that Philadelphia-based businesses join in the city with their commitment to provide second chances,” Kenney said in a statement. “We are all working together to give people with criminal records the opportunity to get a job, earn decent wages and feed their families.”

Relatedly, a group of lawyers recently filed a lawsuit against SEPTA for not hiring people because of criminal records.

Here are the organizations that have already taken the pledge:

African-American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, DE

Manufacturing Alliance of Philadelphia

Wash Cycle Laundry

Drexel University

Hand-In-Soap Co.

Aker Philadelphia Shipyard

Computer Components

Philly Office Retail and Trolley Car Diner/Café

Saint Benjamin Brewing Company

Reading Terminal Market

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