SXSW Startup: 70MillionJobs Is Giving People A Second Chance At Life
While many people believe that those incarcerated aren’t able to rehabilitate themselves, the fact remains that society often doesn’t give them a chance. There are millions of Americans who have been incarcerated for non-violent crimes, first offenses or who really worked the system and got their act together while incarcerated. Those same millions of Americans don’t stand a chance in the work force the way it’s currently set up.
Imagine riding shotgun in a car with a buddy and unbeknownst to you he had a couple of ounces of marijuana in the trunk. When all is said and done, regardless of whether you knew or not, you’re probably looking at a hefty charge and maybe some time incarcerated. You could be a college student, a post graduate student or have a good job and a family. When it’s time to go back out in the world you end up stuck, no one will hire you because of that charge on your record. Technology and access to all kinds of data just about ensures that prospective employer is going to find out.
A San Francisco startup called 70MillionJobs is helping to put some of those people back to work, giving them a new lease on life and helping companies find good hard workers. Not only that but research has proven that nearly 80% of the people released from jail or prison return within five years, shockingly, nearly all of them are unemployed when re-arrested. Guess what, those with jobs rarely recidivate.
During the Obama administration fortune 50 companies like Google, Facebook, Coca Cola, American Airlines and Walmart all agreed that it was their responsibility to offer second chances. In introducing the Fair Chance Business Pledge, companies were offered benefits for hiring people formerly incarcerated. Those companies qualify for federal tax credits, and are automatically indemnified for loss due to a crime committed. Studies have also shown that ex-offenders can be better employees than non-offenders.
70MillionJobs connects companies with worthwhile candidates that have been formerly incarcerated. This comes from experience. Richard Bronson, the founder and CEO of 70MillionJobs had started a large financial services firm on Wall Street. in 2002 he was found guilty of securities fraud and sentenced to two years in a federal prison camp. When he returned to society he too struggled with finding work. He made it the rest of his life’s mission to connect those formerly incarcerated with opportunities and second chances.
70MillionJobs is a top 50 SXSW Accelerator finalist. You can hear them pitch at SXSW Interactive in Austin, March 10th and 11th and talk with them at the SXSW Accelerator Demo Day March 12th. You can also find out more online at 70millionjobs.com