Norris Calls For Conversation On Helping Those With Criminal Records Get Jobs

Monday, June 30, 2014

Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, chairman of the Council of State Governments (CSG), called on all states to convene their respective business leaders to discuss ways in which government can help—and hinder—efforts to improve employment outcomes for people with criminal records.

The announcement came after his “State Pathways to Prosperity” initiative inspired a meeting Monday at the White House, bringing together business executives and local, state, and federal government officials to help crystalize obstacles between the public and private sectors preventing the hiring of those with prior convictions.

“Elected officials across the political spectrum are focusing on high unemployment rates among millions of adults with criminal records,” Senator Norris said. “We recognize that government alone can’t solve this problem. Today is a terrific demonstration of the kind of private-sector dialogue we need to design strategies that are good for business and that put people who are now law-abiding citizens to work. We’re calling on all states to have the same kind of conversations at the state level.”

The event, coordinated by The White House Domestic Policy Council, the CSG Justice Center, and the National Reentry Resource Center, featured a roundtable of executives from small-, medium-, and large-sized businesses, including Home Depot and Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, as well as policymakers from all levels of government.

“Today’s conversation highlights how businesses need to be thoughtful about these types of hiring decisions to ensure we address the estimated 65 million people of working age who have criminal records in this country,” Senator Norris said. “A criminal record isn’t something that should be ignored, but, depending on how it relates to the responsibilities of the position advertised, it’s also not something that should automatically disqualify someone from a job.”

Senator Norris hopes the latest discussions will serve as motivation for similar conversations to begin in individual states across the country. He also noted that, for those states interested in coordinating discussions between the public and private sectors, the National Reentry Resource Center is prepared to provide guidance and assistance.

The State Pathways to Prosperity is a 2014 initiative designed to encourage states to enact changes to bolster the skills of American workers to ensure they meet the demands of companies and secure employment. The gap between employer demand and the number of qualified workers is widening due to a variety of factors, including children living in poverty, people battling hunger and poor nutrition, veterans’ difficulties in meeting certification and degree requirements, and people who have been involved in the criminal justice system.

“The jobs are available for the people with the skills to secure them,” Senator Norris said. “We have a unique opportunity to help train these individuals and prepare them for the workforce upon their release from prison or jail. Finding employment is the toughest challenge they’ll face, but it’s also a pivotal step towards staying out of lockup and being a productive member of society.”


Chattanooga Chamber Presents Calendar Of Events For Oct. 24-28

MON/24 2016  Want to Bid on a Contract? Get the Right Certification 9 a.m. –  Noon INCubator: 100 Cherokee Blvd. Part of Chattanooga Minority Enterprise Development Week, this event is geared toward businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans, service-disabled veterans, and other small business owners.  ... (click for more)

Report Highlights Effect Of Pro Bono Legal Services

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission’s released annual report shows Tennessee attorneys are donating more than 500,000 hours of their time annually worth more than $100 million.  For the calendar year 2014, nearly half of all attorneys reported doing some kind of pro bono work. The report shows 7,615 attorneys practicing in Tennessee provided 568,170 ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Family Of 7; Blaze Ruled Accidental

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire on Saturday afternoon that displaced a family of seven. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 4:11 p.m. and responded to 3308 Dodson Ave. with five fire companies. Captain Wadie Suttles with Engine 4 said heavy fire was showing when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. As additional firefighters ... (click for more)

Clarence Ross, Leshawn Witherow Shot On Walden Avenue Friday Afternoon

Chattanooga Police are investigating a shooting that happened early Friday afternoon at the 6300 block of Walden Avenue.  Clarence Ross, 41, And Leshawn Witherow, 40, suffered non-life threatening injuries.  Hamilton County EMS transported both victims to a local hospital for treatment.  There is no suspect information at this time.  Investigators with ... (click for more)

Where Is The Speed Control On Our Highways? - And Response (2)

I am teaching my 15-year-old to drive in the North Georgia and Chattanooga area. I have warned her of the dangers of exceeding the speed limit both as a hazard to herself and in terms of receiving a ticket. What a liar I am.  Have you driven on the local freeways and highways recently? I never see any highway patrolmen helping to reduce speeding or pulling over those who ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Vol Is Worth $521,854

The definition for the term “fair market value,” this from the IRS tax code, “is the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.” So a recent article in Business Insider has just revealed a University of Tennessee scholarship ... (click for more)