JPMorgan Chase to expand inclusive hiring effort with help of Columbus nonprofits

Jess Deyo
Columbus CEO
Monique Baptiste, JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase has announced expanded second chance hiring efforts in Columbus as an effort to break down barriers for those with criminal backgrounds and provide an inclusive hiring pipeline. 

The global financial services firm launched a community-based hiring model that will help ex-offenders secure employment. These efforts aren’t new, however, with 10 percent of 2,100 JPMorgan Chase hires in 2020 having previous criminal charges.

The major push toward reentry efforts began in Chicago, says Monique Baptiste, vice president of workforce strategy, corporate responsibility at the bank. The firm began looking at its hiring processes and found minor changes could make a big impact in providing equal opportunity. 

“Considering the number of individuals with criminal backgrounds that are in our communities nationally, and given the fact that one of the biggest factors for preventing recidivism would be full-time employment, it was really a first step to advocating for more companies to really adopt this practice more fully,” Baptiste says.

With its new model, JPMorgan Chase will partner with local nonprofits to build an inclusive hiring pipeline. In Columbus, the organizations include Goodwill, Center for Employment Opportunities, Columbus Urban League and Legal Aid Society, each providing job seekers with mentorship and legal services. 

Also included in the partnerships will be technical support from JPMorgan Chase to equip organizations with optimal approaches for supporting job seekers who face barriers related to prior convictions. Organizations also will collaborate with the firm’s recruiters to help recruit, hire and retain new team members. 

JPMorgan Chase also joined a group of major employers and national organizations like AT&T, Best Buy, Microsoft, Kroger and more to launch the Second Chance Business Coalition to continue supporting reentry into the workforce and community. Together, these companies will spread knowledge on best practices regarding inclusive hiring efforts. 

“It's not a coincidence that we are both expanding our second chance hiring models as well as supporting the launch of this Second Chance Business Coalition,” Baptiste says. “We really have, as a firm, the practice of wanting to not just say, but do. This provides us an opportunity to signal to our colleagues in the industry and other major employers in markets that we care about that this is good practice, this is good business.”

These new strides pair well with the existing efforts made by the firm, including the decision to “ban the box” on job applications and remove all questions regarding criminal backgrounds. Efforts are also financially backed, with JPMorgan Chase investing $12.5 million to help community organizations in America’s major cities, like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago connect people with criminal backgrounds with well-paying jobs and resources. 

Through the JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter, the firm has also been developing and endorsing several evidence-based policy solutions to help those with criminal backgrounds integrate back into the working world.

“We know there are just so many people every year who rule themselves out from these jobs,” Baptiste says. “This is really our effort to signal to folks that if you feel you are qualified for these jobs and really want to pursue the role within financial services, that there are supports in line to help you navigate that process.”

jdeyo@dispatch.com